Princeton officials planning to install new parking equipment, add app

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Parking in Princeton will go high-tech this year when old parking meters are replaced by more modern equipment and a mobile app is unveiled that will enable users to pay for parking and obtain digital parking permits.

Municipal officials said they have not decided when to introduce the app to the public, before new parking meters are installed or at the same time.

The Princeton Council on June 11 awarded a contract for $36,600 annually to PassportParking Inc. for the app and digital permit software.

“We don’t have a firm date as to when it will be ready for public use,” municipal engineer Deanna Stockton said on June 12 in reference to the app.

In a memo to the council, Stockton said the app will enable users to pay for parking and to monitor how much time they have left on their meter, and give merchants the ability to validate parking for their customers, among other features.

The app will have a “wallet,” so users can add money to it and transfer a balance from their smart card, the municipal parking card that is being phased out.

“This is taking Princeton into the 21st century with parking, to have an app,” Mayor Liz Lempert told reporters on June 11. “My understanding is that it can still work with the existing meters. We’ll have to put little labels on the meters.”

Lempert said there would be “special Princeton branding” for the app, which will be available at the iTunes store and Google Play.

Later this year, officials intend to install a mix of so-called “smart” meters and multi-pay stations. Lempert said the smart card, a type of debit card for parking, would be phased out when the new equipment is installed.

“We’re going to be rolling out the new parking technology in increments,” she said. “And so the app is likely going to come before the actual new meters are coming.”

Later this month, the council is expected to award a contract to a vendor for the new parking meters. The machines will accept payment by coin, credit card or the app, officials have said.

More broadly, officials have said they will examine parking fees and parking time limits.

Stockton said the municipality is looking to make changes to ensure greater “turnover and availability” of on-street parking spaces.