Smart street meters installed on campus

Payment for parking will be made easier by the introduction of “Smart Meters” by the end of winter term.

The meters, which have been installed in and around some major parking spaces in Portland, will be set up around Portland State University.

Three of the machines will be installed on the first floor of Parking Structure Three and one more at the parking lot near the Art Building, formerly Bassist Building.

Costing $6,000 each, the green meters are solar-powered, multi-space parking units. They are designed to be easy to use, modern, tough and smart. They will replace a block of single-space meters.

The machines are also designed to function during heavy rain. Their two-way communication can immediately alert the city of a technical problem.

Previous parking meters accepted only coins. Smart Meter also accept payment via credit cards.

Additional features include an electronic display that provides the parking customer with transaction information, an electronic clock that shows the time of day and a button-operated credit card transaction feature. A printer in the meter produces a receipt for display in the vehicle.

“It is quite simple,” said Dan Zalkow, manager of Transportation and Parking Services at PSU. He said the credit card compatibility makes it extremely convenient for students living off campus, who usually run short of required change.

He also said the new parking meters would initially be used for short-term parking purposes only, up to four hours.

Zalkow said he was considering the introduction of Smart Card facility to the meters.

Smart Cards are similar to credit cards, but have no transaction fees. The cards use a pre-pay function, which allows the owner to charge the card as needed.