Motorists who use City of Red Deer reloadable parking cards to keep their parking meters fed downtown will be reimbursed when new parking technology is implemented by summer.
The city is removing all the downtown parking stall meters, and parking sessions will be paid through the mobile app HotSpot, a quick-access QR code, or at parking pay stations.
Fengstad said the new parking system will make parking easier and provide greater flexibility.
“Our systems are quite old. They aren’t working as well so I think this is a positive change for our downtown,” said Amy Fengstad, the city’s acting inspections and licensing manager.
She said the removal of existing parking equipment and the installation of pay stations are expected to happen this summer.
“We’ll have the exact dates coming up in the near future.”
She said reloadable parking cards have been a fairly successful program for workers and visitors to the downtown, but they won’t be accepted at the new pay stations.
The city is working with Hotspot to transfer funds left on cards to a digital wallet, or possibly provide a refund or credit.
The city has 2,187 parking spaces downtown, including on-street stalls and parking lots. Monthly parking permits will be transferred to HotSpot.
Fengstad said the number of pay stations, and where they will be located, still needs to be determined.
“We are trying to limit the infrastructure in the downtown based on the cost and maintenance that’s required.”
Pay stations will give people the option of paying with coins, credit cards, tap, Visa Debit, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
If people use the HotSpot app, they will be able to pay for and extend their parking from their phone, avoid tickets with auto alerts, save money by refunding unfinished sessions, find parking using a real-time map, and pay for parking tickets from their phone.
Staff who patrol parking will scan licence plates to determine whether people have paid. Fengstad said staffing will be maintained for now, but will be assessed in about a year.
She said more information will be available to educate the public on the new parking system in the weeks ahead, and when it goes into effect there will be teams patrolling the streets to assist drivers who have questions.
Parking rates will not increase when the new system is launched, but parking zones may be adjusted. Free parking will still be available on weekends and in the evening.
For more information visit reddeer.ca.