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Norman transportation team switches to parking stations, replaces parking meters

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A Flowbird parking station located on Campus Corner.

This summer, Norman’s transportation team switched from its previously used parking meters, where consumers could pay to park with coins or a card by the hour, to parking stations. 

The new parking stations allow consumers to go to the parking station and pay to park with coins, a credit card or from their phones with the Flowbird app.

City Traffic Engineer David Riesland said the new parking stations should bring convenience to both the consumer and parking enforcement officers. Riesland said the old machines were having battery issues and difficulties identifying vacant parking spots.

“Buses going down Asp (Avenue) would set the device off and make it seem as if that space was vacated even when it wasn’t,” Riesland said. “So people would come out … say they put in a dollar worth of quarters at 10 o’clock and that should have paid their time until 11 o’clock, but they come out at 10:30 and have a ticket.”

Rieseland said, to the best of his knowledge, a majority of tickets from inaccurate vacancies were written off, but it was still a major problem that needed to be addressed in Norman. Additionally, he said the high amount of parking meters in the city was also a positive push for the city to move to pay stations.

Riesland said there used to be 154 parking meters, and now there are only 14 pay stations. He said he hopes this takes some stress off of both the parking enforcement officers and those using pay stations by giving more convenient work options for officers and the ability for Normanites to pay for parking and renew their parking from a mobile phone.

“My hope is that people give this new system a chance to show that it can be a good system. … We’re working through bugs, and I think we’ve got them all worked out now, so that should be pretty smooth from here on out,” Riesland said.

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