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Nazareth to Consider Upgrading Outdated Parking Meters

With the borough's aging parking meters in mind, Councilman Larry Stoudt suggests a committee be formed to decide how Nazareth residents and visitors will pay to park.

As evidenced by the photo to the right, the parking meters that stand along Main, S. Broad, Belvidere, Mauch Chunk and E. Center streets in Nazareth are… historic… to put it politely.

Nazareth’s meters aren’t quite as… historic… as, say, Bangor’s. If you parked in the Slate Belt borough recently, you may have noticed the slots for 5 cents, 10 cents and 25 cents -- and the knob with comfortable thumb grooves that must be turned before your payment is officially accepted.

Nevertheless, at least one member would like to see the borough’s meters updated.

At on Thursday, Aug. 30, Councilman Larry Stoudt suggested a committee be formed to decide how borough residents and visitors will pay to park.

“I don’t think you can eliminate [the parking meters],” Stoudt said. “If you eliminate them, you may as well close all of the businesses downtown." 

Paul Kokolus, the borough’s secretary and treasurer, suggested the meters be replaced in stages because of the potential to lose revenue if done all at once.

During the months of June and July, according to Council's monthly police report, the borough collected $5,483.95 from meter receipts and $1,360 from meter tickets.

Council members threw around replacement suggestions. Stoudt, for example, would like meters to tick back to 0:00 after a vehicle leaves a parking spot. This is not an impossible concept, as explained below.

As a Nazareth resident, visitor or business owner, what payment method would you like the borough to consider?

When a council member suggested erecting meters in Center Square, Councilman Frank Maurek -- quite enthusiastically -- said he'd second the motion if it were brought to the table.

There was no mention of raising parking rates. Currently, 25 cents will put two hours on the meter.

For a glimpse into the future of parking, Nazareth need look no farther than Bethlehem.

There are five different methods to pay for parking in the Christmas City: coins, tokens, cash keys, credit cards and ParkNOW!

The Bethlehem Parking Authority unveiled solar-powered smart meters in August 2011 and ParkNOW! in July 2012, according to .

The ParkNOW! app, which is available for free at iTunes and Android Market, allows drivers to initiate and pay for a parking session by using a cell phone to call the number located on the meter, street or lot sign.

Because of technology like ParkNOW!, the days of finding a lucky parking spot with money left over are numbered. In some locations where ParkNOW! is used, drivers can terminate their parking session and pay only for actual time parked.

Bethlehem's cost about $600 per meter, according to Bethlehem Patch. And in 2009, the city generated $675,000 from approximately 1,300 parking meters.

While a parking garage in Nazareth is unlikely --  -- Council President Dan Chiavaroli mentioned in passing Thursday night that many garages are now outfitted with electronic payment machines.

The machines in  operate 24/7, offering a variety of payment options, including cash, credit and debit.

Easton, meanwhile, is still sifting through the recommendations in a , according to an .

In addition to recommending the implementation of more technologically advanced equipment, the company is urging the city to change parking meter hours of operation, raise rates to as much as $1 per hour in prime Downtown areas, and encourage the use of the Pine Street garage.

Easton currently generates about $675,000 annually from parking fees, which is used to pay for city services for residents, according to Easton Patch.

For the full report on Easton’s parking study, including reaction from business owners and Easton City Council, read “” on Easton Patch.

Chris Miller September 07, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Mr. Stout. Given that you are a tad bit short of police officers I would suggest you concentrate on that issue so that you have law enforcermet around to arrest criminals in the borough or are they still not there. I would also remind you and others that the folks in Bethlehem are not all that please with the new meters. Talk to the downtown merchants If you and town officials would work at being more prudent when it comes to the budget you would not have to raise parking fees for people who are watching every penny in this miserable ecomomy that most analysits state could go on for another 5 years.
Mallory Vough September 07, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Note: I included details on Bethlehem's meters for informational purposes -- to give readers an idea of the technology available. At least one Council member made it known that what Bethlehem can afford is not necessarily what Nazareth can afford.
Ben Miller September 07, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I can't believe I'm saying it, but I 100% agree with Chris Miller. How about Nazareth focuses on protecting its citizens, THEN thinks of new way to make them pay the borough.
Ben Miller September 08, 2012 at 05:49 AM
By the way, my wife got two hours for two nickels today, on the parking meter in front of the Army and Navy.
Chris Miller September 08, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Nazareth Man What can I say other then Pearls of Wisdom rise to the top from time to time. Thank you for the complliment and glad your wife got the two hours.

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