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What's Going to Happen to Parking by Cellphone?

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn made a splash a few months ago when he rolled out the idea of paying for parking with your cellphone. We do everything else with our phones these days, so why not be able to load an app or visit a site to feed the meter? It's been used in other places like San Francisco and Vancouver B.C. You can even get a text reminding you when the meter's going to run out. On Wednesday, City Council President Sally Clark emailed to predict the council would include funding to allow drivers to pay for parking with their cellphones. She wrote, "Things look good, from my perspective on the pay-by-phone parking proposal. This was supposed to roll out this year, but the project fell behind. A couple of councilmembers appropriately asked about project costs and whether this remains a priority given that we're struggling to fund new endeavors. It makes sense from a good service stand point. I think you'll see it in the final version of the 2013 budget on Nov. 19."

But therein lays the rub. One of the issues the City Council will sort through in their current budget deliberations is whether to approve the plan, City Council members have expressed a concern, such as in this KIRO-TV report, that making it easier to dodge a ticket would cost the city revenue. But as cool and convenient the idea as it is, it would cost the city about $2 million over two years. McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus told Curbed the cost mainly comes from hiring and training eight new parking enforcement officers because it will be a pain on the officers. A conservative estimate is that it will take 30 seconds longer for officers to check each car. Instead of just writing someone up for having an expired receipt, they'd have to double check to make sure someone didn't extend their time by phone. Pickus said, though, that's a conservative estimate. Vancouver B.C. found that it only took about 10 seconds longer per car.
· Pay for parking in Seattle -- by cell phone? [Seattle Pi]
· Seattle to consider pay-by-phone parking [My Northwest]
Kery Murakami