John K. Manna
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
The parking experience has changed in downtown New Castle with the installation of new meters.
Not only are the meters up to date, but there are fewer of them.
Most of the new meters now cover two parking spaces, thus allowing the city to eliminate 30 meters on downtown streets.
The city bought 63 digital meters from POM Inc. of Russellville, Ark., for $34,785. Galvanized steel pipe for the meters was also purchased from POM for $4,315.
A portion of a $5 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant designated for the downtown is covering the cost.
The meters, similar to ones previously placed on East Washington and Mill streets, have been installed on Mercer Street, South Street, North Street and Beaver Street by the New Castle Community Y.
All street meters are now uniform. They accept quarters, dimes and tokens. A quarter will provide a half-hour of parking. A dime will provide about 12 minutes. People can insert a maximum of $1 worth of coins in the meters for two hours of parking.
The old meters varied on the amount of parking time provided.
“There was no consistency,” city finance officer Josh Latore noted.
Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo noted the new meters, like the Washington and Mill street meters, provide motorists 10 minutes of free parking to allow them to make a quick stop at a downtown business.
However, , the meters apparently have caused confusion for some people.
“We have been getting calls on how to use them,” Latore said.
If a meter has no time showing, motorists can simply press the button designated for their parking space and they will get 10 minutes of free parking. The meters have left and right buttons.
A green light on the meter indicates money is in the meter while a red light indicates time has expired.
Latore recommends people press the button for their designated space before inserting any money. If you insert a coin first, the meter instructs you to select a space. But if you fail to select in time, the screen on the meter will indicate no money has been inserted.
Latore explained that because the meters are digital, they require less maintenance. The old meters had springs, resembling the inner workings of a watch, he said, adding it was difficult to find parts for the them.
Mastrangelo said, “That created problems for us.”