From WILL - News Headlines -

Champaign Council Considering “Smart” Parking Meters

The city of Champaign is looking to give some motorists another option for those who don't have change for the parking meter.

City council members Tuesday will be asked to give preliminary approval for a test run of 'smart meters' downtown. The first 37 of them, which accept debit and credit cards, would be installed in the 100 block of North Walnut Street, and on Chester Street between Neil and Market Streets.

Patti Anderson is a management analyst with Champaign's Public Works Department. She says the meters should boost city revenue, but also cut down on parking tickets.

"You can expect to see parking violations decrease because people are more inclined, with the credit card, to put in the full amount for the time limit," said Anderson. "And so, that way you need more revenue generated because they put more money in in the first place, but you do see a decrease in parking fines."

The city is planning a six-month trial for the first meters to see how colder weather affects them. Champaign may then purchase those meters, install about 30 more north of the trial area, and 100 additional ones in the easternmost portion of Campustown.

The city council meets in a study session starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. But even if they're finalized next week, city staff says it could be a while before the meters are actually in place, since Champaign first has to set up a schedule with a vendor for installing them.

The University of Illinois and city of Urbana are also exploring the use of smart meters.