Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

New ‘smart meters’ let motorists park now, pay later

New parking meters around DU accept credit cards

DU must be doing a lot right; even the parking meters are getting smarter.

Showing up on the public streets around the University are Denver’s new “smart meters,” recognizable by glistening new tops and their ability to accept Visa and MasterCard. About 4,500 smart meters will be installed citywide by mid-June. Work putting in the meters near DU was completed March 16.

“The plan is to replace all the meters,” says Lena Russell, parking enforcement supervisor. “They still act as the old meters do, but now they take credit cards and are solar-powered.” 

Solar cells keep the meters’ batteries charged and allow the meters to accept credit card payments of at least $1. The parking rate in the DU area is 50 cents per hour, so a five-hour meter will accept payment up to $2.50 and a two hour meter $1. After that, you have to move your car, Russell says. No meter-feeding allowed or you risk a $25 ticket.

The funky new meters also accept “Park Smart Denver Cards,” she says, which can be prepaid up to $100. Smart Cards are available on the first floor at the Wellington Webb building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., but talks are under way to allow King Soopers and the Tattered Cover stores in Denver to issue the cards.

On holidays, the new meters will flash a “free parking” message and decline payment so motorists won’t pay when they don’t have to. The LED screens on the meters can flash any message the city wishes, including reminders of street sweeping.

Since the new meters continue to accept coins, motorists can pay less than $1 for less time than one hour.

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