Parking meter replacement set to begin in March

Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services, which in November reached a 50-year contract to manage the city's parking meters, will begin replacing many of the older meters with newer models early next month.

An agreement reached in November called for ACS to give the city $20 million upfront and an estimated $363 million to $620 million in meter revenue over the life of the 50-year lease deal.

ACS plans to spend up to $10 million to replace the city’s coin-operated meters with newer versions that will accept credit cards. As a result, hourly parking rates are expected to rise from 75 cents to as much as $1.50 in Broad Ripple and some busy downtown areas.

Lou Gerig of local public relations firm Sease Gerig & Associates provided a timeline for meter replacement at the Monday meeting of the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County. Sease Gerig represents the partnership known as ParkIndy, which includes ACS, Indianapolis-based Denison Parking and Evens Time Inc., a local parking-meter wholesaler.

Gerig said installation of new parking meters will begin in downtown Indianapolis and Broad Ripple the first week of March. The work will be done in two phases, with single-space meters being installed first, followed by multi-space meters. The work should be completed in early summer.

Gerig declined to provide additional information, saying more details will be forthcoming before the work begins.

Via e-mail, Mayor Greg Ballard said the ParkIndy team has done an "excellent" job moving the project forward.

"The new technology will be an added convenience for motorists and will provide hundreds of millions of dollars for the city to invest in infrastructure in our community," he said.

The long-term lease deal and the additional revenue generated by higher fees should help the city repair streets, sidewalks and alleys in those areas.

Besides higher meter rates, metered hours would extend to 9 p.m. in busier downtown areas and to 8 p.m. in quieter parts. In Broad Ripple, hours also would stretch to 9 p.m. Most metered parking in the city now runs until 6 p.m., with a two-hour limit.

As part of its deal with the city, ACS also has agreed to create 200 jobs in Indianapolis in the next two years.

The city worked to revise the terms of its proposed deal with ACS after public opposition mounted. Changes give Indianapolis greater flexibility in removing parking meters and the option of terminating the agreement every 10 years.

Supporters say the deal brings a long-overdue upgrade to the system as it generates revenue for infrastructure improvements.

Opponents complained the deal is short-sighted and riddled with hidden costs.

Also at Monday’s CIB meeting, members approved a bid of $877,649 submitted by Indianapolis-based Millennium Contractors LLC to pave two gravel parking lots on the former site of Market Square Arena.

Work could start next month and should be finished by June 15. When completed, each lot, separated by Market Street, will have 177 spaces instead of the current 250. Landscaping and light poles to spruce up the property will shrink the size of the lots.

CIB owns the parking lots once targeted for redevelopment. The city requires parking lots to be paved, but for years officials made have exceptions for the lots, hoping to avoid the paving expense by attracting a mixed-use project.

CIB won a final extension in November, allowing the lots to remain unpaved through June.

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