Smart parking meter from how-to video by IPS. Image via YouTube
Smart parking meter from how-to video by IPS Group. Courtesy IPS Group

The city of San Diego is installing around 200 “smart” parking meters beginning this week that will accept credit card payments and track usage of spaces.

The devices, which cost a total of $3.8 million, are replacing traditional single-space meters that only accept coins, according to the office of City Council President Todd Gloria, who is planning a news conference Thursday to discuss the new meters.

The meters San Diego is installing are made by IPS Group Inc., a Sorrento Valley company that’s a leader in the field.

“Bringing smart parking meters to San Diego was on the short list of things I wanted to accomplish during my tenure as (interim) mayor, and I know San Diegans and visitors will notice the improvement this week upon their installation,” Gloria said.

“San Diego is a city of innovation and people here should not resort to the antiquated practice of searching for coins for parking meters,” he said. “With more user-friendly parking meters, customers will be able to more easily patronize the small businesses throughout downtown, Uptown, and Mid- City, contributing to the economic development of our city.”

About 97 percent of San Diego’s parking meters are being replaced, according to Gloria’s office. The devices use the city’s existing meter poles, making installation easier and preserving useful current infrastructure.

The smart meters are being installed first in the Gaslamp Quarter, with other areas of downtown to follow. The meters will be installed in the Uptown and Mid-City areas early next year.

When installation is complete, the city plans to start a pilot project to to let customers pay via their mobile phones.

Data from the meters will be used to guide the future policies of the city and community parking groups, Gloria said.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.