KATHERINE BURKE | Correspondent | The Statesman The University of Minnesota-Duluth campus has been in the process of remodeling and updating many of its buildings and accommodations for the past few years, including some newly installed parking meters.
According to the assistant director of Student Life Operations Lisa Hansen, 200 of the 320 parking meters on campus have been replaced with new and updated features.
The new parking meters offer the ability to pay with the traditional coins, or the new option is to use a credit card as a form of payment.
“They’re easier to use because I don’t always have cash on me,” student Sydney Carlson said.
According to UMD Parking Services about 40 percent of people are using coins and roughly 60 percent of people are using the credit card feature for the new meters.
These percentages have been collected from the new backup software that was included with the new parking meters. According to UMD Parking Services, no previous data had been collected due to the fact that the previous old meters did not include a backup software system.
“This new backup software allows UMD Parking Services to collect data such as how often any given meter is being used, the number of transactions per meter and it also allows the student coin collectors to be notified by email when there is a coin-blockage,” Hansen said.
The currency types have multiplied but so have the mediums through which you can pay.
“We have prepay available on the meters beginning at 6am. For those that arrive early for sports or to use the work out facility,” Lisa Hansen said. “They are able to put money in the meter starting at 6 am and the meter will hold it until 8am and then it will kick in.”
Another feature of the new parking meters includes the usage of solar energy.
“The new parking meters are solar powered with a battery backup,” Hansen said. “We don’t have the numbers yet but the amount of batteries we will go through will be substantially less.”
Meters have been replaced all around the university including in Maroon Lot B, Gold Lot C, Solon Campus Center, Lot E and the meter lot near the library as well. The remaining 120 old parking meters are scheduled to be replaced in the beginning of next summer.
Another plan in the works for UMD Parking Services is a new parking meter phone app.
According to Lisa Hansen, they are in the process of meeting different companies and discussing the specifics of the possible phone app.
The phone app will have many features including paying the meter from your phone to prevent letting meters expire. Notifications will be sent to the user’s phone and the user can then pay just enough money to keep the meter running.
For people who do not use parking meters, some have decided to purchase a parking permit.
According to Hansen, so far this semester students have purchased 3,144 permits. These include student maroon, green and white permits for the various lots. The staff and faculty have had 804 maroon and white permits sold.
The UMD Parking Services purposely allows for more spots to be offered for students because they understand that there are more students attending UMD than faculty.
According to Hansen, another new addition for parking services this year is “random acts of kindness.” According to their Twitter page “@UMDParking: An orange envelope on your windshield...could brighten your day with #umdrandomacts.”