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August 08, 2013
Grosse Pointe Woods — Are penny parking meters going the way of 8-track tape decks for drivers in Grosse Pointe Woods?

They very well could be, as the city administrators explore the possibility of replacing 900 municipal parking meters with new digital models, a move that could bring several thousand dollars in additional revenue.

The change in meters was discussed Monday, Aug. 5, by the Woods city council during a committee of the whole meeting. City council member Michael Koester first raised the possibility of updating the city's parking meters several months ago, including the possibility of allowing drivers to pay for spots with credit cards.

Joe Ahee, director of public services, was tasked with researching the options available to the city, including adjusting existing meters to allow for increased rates, replacement of the existing meters and the use of mobile devices and credit cards to pay parking fees.

According to Ahee, the city is currently using Duncan mechanical meters, which are no longer being made and are difficult to repair. Refurbished digital meters are available, as well as new meters, all of which would fit the existing meter heads and poles the city already has.

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The committee of the whole tabled the talk of new meters, with Mayor Robert Novitke asking council member Kevin Ketels to discuss the issue with the city's Mack Avenue Business Study committee and bring its comments back to the committee of the whole.

While there is a question of new meters, it would appear the question of new parking rates and enforcement has been settled.

A new parking enforcement officer is being hired, which means parking meters will be monitored six days a week, and parking rates will increase, with new meters programmed to accept only quarters, something council member Vicki Granger questioned.

"People are used to throwing a nickel in the meter and running into the cleaners or while running other quick errands," she said. "I think we need feedback from business owners before we make a decision."

Ketels said the Mack Avenue committee would meet Tuesday, Aug. 14, and recommendations would be available for the Monday, Aug. 19, meeting of the committee of the whole.

"We're going to have to replace the meters eventually," Novitke said, "but we have to have the input of the business community before we do."

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