Before the roll-out of the new Newton parking application, this lot — the Cypress Street lot in Newton Centre, a vision of meter-less loveliness — was on top of many folks list as the worst lots in the city. Few people like having to walk out of the way to the kiosk to pay, though being able to pay by credit card is a marginal offset. From the city’s perspective, it’s all good: a single, centralized machine rather than just under 60 meters to empty and maintain. And, the kiosk provides very precise data on space utilization.
With the new parking application rolled out this summer, the Cypress Street lot app/kiosk hybrid approach should be a model, particularly for the city’s off-street spaces. From the driver’s perspective, a modest upfront effort to add the application and paying for parking couldn’t be more convenient. No change required. Credit card accepted. No walk to the kiosk required. But, the kiosk remains, meaning folks without the app can still park and pay. It’s all good, particularly for folks who park there regularly, which is likely a large percentage.
From the city perspective, it might be better not to even have the kiosk at all. Let people without the app park elsewhere. And, maybe we’ll have lots where the app is the only option. But, I can’t imagine that’ll happen soon. In the meantime, this hybrid kiosk/app approach seems pretty good, particularly where we can repeat parkers.
So, let’s start yanking out parking meters. I’d propose starting with the Cherry Street lot in West Newton, or the Pleasant and Pelham Street lots in Newton Centre.
The city has hired a parking manager. Let’s hope this is on her to-do list.
Just one thing: as we pull out meters, let’s add bike racks to compensate for the lost bike parking opportunity!