Parking meters hit the streets …free parking until January

Smart City Solution’s Accounts Manager, Alicia Bess demonstrates how the “parking cards” will be used.

THE first operational parking meter was officially installed Wednesday opposite City Hall on Regent Street, Georgetown and motorists will be allowed to park for free until January 9, 2017. Officials of Smart City Solutions, the company which has been contacted to do the parking meter project, said they aim to sensitise drivers and other commuters on the use of the meters and how it could be operated.
Drivers will be required to purchase “parking cards” from the Smart City Office or other vendors, in order to park at a designated area and will be required to pay $50 for every 15 minutes or $200 for every hour. The prices were approved by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).
The parking cards will be available for either long or short-term use and drivers will be required to refill the card for a specific value. After inserting the card, a receipt will follow which drivers must place on the front windscreen, so inspectors will see that the spot was paid for.
It was also noted that drivers will pay for parking from Monday to Saturday only, between 7:00am – 7:00pm.
Meanwhile, Smart City Solutions says it is prepared for vandals, as the meters will trigger alarms remotely, on impact. The company sought to dispel concerns about vandalism, given the fact that none of the meters would contain cash.
“It has alarms built in, so as soon as there [is] any sort of impact to the meter, it would set off alarms and those patrols would be directed directly to that,” the managing-director told reporters.
Additionally, Town Clerk, Royston King, said the city police, the Guyana Police Force and wardens will be on patrol to ensure that motorists pay up and the meters are secured.
During the first phase of the exercise, 157 parking meters will create 3,237 parking spaces within the city, as the solution to congestion.
The first set of parking meters will be installed along Camp, Water, Quamina and Hadfield streets, Georgetown.
The introduction of parking meters has been met with much resistance by drivers, the business community and the Private Sector Commission (PSC). As a matter of fact, Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan, was against the controversial project from the inception.
Duncan, in a missive posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday, noted that the entire parking meter initiative is said to be a US$10M investment, a sum that has been deemed to be bloated by experts and which could have been easily raised by local investors.
“The fact remains that as a Third World country, modern technologies available in other countries will arrive on our shores years from now cliched; yet, thanks to globalization, we seem to be catching [up] in some areas and yet hopelessly falling behind in others.”