Broken meters means free Evanston parking until they are fixed

Evanston’s digital parking meters were on the skids Wednesday morning after they did not reset to normal programming following the Memorial Day holiday, and parking fees will not be charged until the more-than 1,000 meters are fixed, according to city officials.

“On Monday, the city implemented a feature of the meters for the first time which displayed the word ‘holiday’ on the meter screen to help remind parkers that it was a meter holiday,” said Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz. “On Tuesday, the meters did not reset to regular service as programmed.”

Representatives from Civic Smart, the city’s meter vendor formerly known as Duncan Solutions, were not able to reset the meters on Tuesday and were still on hand Wednesday working out the problem, Bobkiewicz said.

“No parking enforcement will be done at the disabled meters until issues are resolved,” Bobkiewicz said. He expects Civic Smart to reimburse the city for lost revenue and staff time spent working on the problem.

Duncan Solutions was awarded a contract in 2013 worth over $1 million to replace the city’s old parking meters with the new digital technology, according to Evanston Review reports. One of the more popular perks of the new meters is that they take credit cards.

The digital meters also allow Evanston staff to change the allowed parking time and amount charged at a meter, according to Evanston Review reports. For example, city officials have considered charging more to park near Northwestern University’s Ryan Field on football game days.

Bobkiewicz did not have an estimate Wednesday on when the meters might be back online or how much revenue the city might lose with them out of commission.

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