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Cleveland to begin offering credit card, mobile parking this summer

 Side-by-side coin-operated parking meters.
Jon Nungesser
Ideastream Public Media
Mayor Justin Bibb has announced a plan to update Cleveland's coin-operated street parking meters with a new digital system in 2023.

Cleveland will soon replace coin-operated parking meters with credit card-enabled kiosks and a mobile parking app in an effort to modernize city services.

The $5 million smart meter program, approved Monday night by Cleveland City Council, will begin later this summer Downtown and expand to the rest of the city. The meters will be replaced by 100 single- and 600 multi-space, credit-card enabled “smart meters” supplied by Flowbird. Users will also be able to pay by app, text or scanning a QR code with ParkMobile.

Signage for ParkMobile, which will includes the zone numbers and payment instructions, will take 9 weeks. The entire program, including the kiosks, will be available within 6 months.

“It’s a really important step to modernize our system, make it more welcomingly accessible and more dynamic,” said Transportation Committee Chair Kerry McCormack.

McCormack said the new system will not only bring the city’s parking program up to date with others in the region, some of whom have had mobile parking or credit card options for a decade, but also encourage visitors to areas they may otherwise avoid.

“I’ve heard from a lot of other people that they don’t carry change anymore, it’s really inconvenient, they’ll avoid areas like Downtown because they’re unsure of how they’re going to park,” he said. “So not only is it outdated, but I think it impairs our ability to create a welcoming place for people that are coming to our commercial districts in vehicles.”

As one parking measure moved forward, council tabled progress on a proposal from Mayor Justin Bibb's administration to raise caps on parking fees and extend the hours meters are in use. They will meet later this summer to consider the proposed ordinance.

Abbey Marshall covers Cleveland-area government and politics for Ideastream Public Media.