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Weekend Geek Out: Pay-By-Phone Parking Comes to D.C.

Via Matt Yglesias, DCist reports that next week Washington area motorists will be able to pay for on-street parking by calling a phone number:

pay_by_phone.jpgThe pay by phone option is being offered at 700 parking spaces in threeareas of the city: around Dupont Circle, Union Station, and downtown onK Street, I Street, and New York Avenue NW. Meters that offer theservice will be marked with a green sticker like the one at right,which lists a location number specific to that space.

The system lets customers specify how much time they're paying for and can send a reminder via text message when that time is about to expire. It's also integrated with enforcement, making parking agents' jobs easier.

What does this have to do with livable streets? High-tech payment mechanisms fit together hand-in-glove with parking policies that reduce cruising and cut down on traffic. Like muni-meters, pay-by-phone makes it feasible to do things like set occupancy targets and price parking accordingly. The convenience factor is also a big deal. Because motorists appreciate those text reminders, the pay-by-phone system creates more political space to raise meter rates during peak hours.

According to ITDP's recent report on U.S. parking policy, the city that's way out in front on high-tech parking payment is Miami, which has 5,500 spots covered by its pay-by-phone system.

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