COLUMBIA — Drivers parking in downtown Columbia might soon find they no longer need the quarters in their ashtrays.
On Thursday, the Downtown Parking Task Force voted to recommend to the Columbia City Council that 117 new parking meters be installed on the full length of Ninth Street and on Broadway between Ninth and Tenth streets.
The new meters, if approved by the council, will include credit card and smartphone payment options. Drivers who use their credit cards, however, will be forced to pay a minimum of $1.60, Tanner Morrell, parking supervisor, said. Each hour costs 75 cents.
The decision to install the 117 single-space meters comes after a 90-day test of the single-spaced meters this spring. The meters were tested on Ninth Street between Locust Street and University Avenue.
The 90-day test showed that an average of 1,185 people per month used their credit cards to pay for parking. The test also showed an increase of nearly $845 per month from parking fees.
Multi-space parking meters were also given a test run during the same time period. The multi-space meters were ruled out partway through the trial because of technological malfunctions and multiple complaints raised by those parking in the downtown area.
The request for new parking meters will now be reviewed by the council, task force members said during Thursday's meeting. Council members would have to approve the project and select a manufacturer to supply the meters before the Columbia Public Works Department could move forward with the project.
Supervising editor is John Schneller.