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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The city on Monday will begin to install the first of 977 new smart parking meters that will take credit and debit cards in addition to coins.

The new meters are powered by batteries that are solar-rechargeable, weather permitting.

The first of the new smart meters will be installed on Gay Street, between Front and North Fourth streets, the Short North, the Arena and Brewery Districts, the North Market area and on Grandview Avenue.

The department plans to install about 1,000 of the new meters annually until all of the city’s more than 4,000 parking meters have been replaced with smart meters.

The new smart meters will replace the city’s aging parking meter fleet that has been in service since 1999. The frequency of repairs to the current meter fleet has been increasing in recent years as the average effective lifetime of a parking meter is about 10 years.

The city tested 35 of the new smart meters on East Gay Street in a pilot program in 2009.  During the pilot program, motorists and area merchants reacted favorably to the debit and credit card options on the meters, city officials said.

Current meter locations include:

  • Arena District
  • Brewery District
  • COSI
  • Columbus College of Art & Design
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Downtown area
  • Grandview Avenue
  • Mount Carmel Hospital
  • North Market area
  • Ohio State University area
  • Short North

    According to the city, 500 of the old meters that will be replaced with new smart meters will be refurbished this winter and installed in locations that currently do not have meters, including the Short North, the Brewery District, downtown, Italian Village and city streets immediately east of The Ohio State University.

Eventually, the meters will also be upgraded with new technology as the city replaces the entire meter fleet.

In addition to debit (VISA and MasterCard only) and credit cards and coins, the new smart meters will also take parking cards to be sold by the city.

The parking cards, which work like a debit card, will go on sale on a date to be announced in the coming weeks. The new smart meters will not accept parking cards currently sold by the city for use in current meters.

Motorists can continue to use the old parking cards with the old meters.