New parking pay stations will replace a couple of the oldest ones in the Dells.
“Some of these pay stations are getting old,” Police Chief Jody Ward said at the March 5 Parking Board Meeting.
He said they put three pay stations in the budget.
“With those three pay stations, we’re going to replace three old pay stations,” he said.
They’re going to use the parts of the old ones to update others, he said. To replace an old dollar bill exchanger, it costs about $1,200 to $1,500, he said.
Recently, someone jumped the curb and took out the pay station by the Fisher’s lot, he said.
He sent images of the machine to Automated Parking, the company they work with. The company sent the pictures to the manufacturer of the machines, T2 Systems. The manufacturer emailed Ward and said the station can’t be fixed.
Ward said they’re looking to order four pay stations total.
Committee member Keith Koehler asked how old the machines are.
Nancy Holzem, city clerk and administrative coordinator, said the oldest machines were purchased in 2012 and 2014.
“The oldest ones are six years old already,” she said.
The oldest ones are across the street from the Police Department in Lot 1 and behind Nig’s, Lot 6, Ward said.
He said they’re not planning on adding a new pay station location at this time.
“That’s something we could go back to the drawing board and talk about getting another one if we need to,” he said.
Alderperson Brian Holzem said from the audience that when he came to the previous Finance Meeting, he wasn’t aware that they were buying three pay stations just to replace existing ones.
“That was never, I don’t think, elaborated to us,” he said. “I thought we were adding additional pay stations.”
Ward said he thinks they talked about adding one more by the Showboat.
“I did mention they were going to charge us over $1,000 per machine to upgrade it with the software and that I wanted to replace them,” he said.
He said they added three new locations last year.
In the past, he said he talked about setting up some cell phone parking spaces that are paid through the Passport Parking app.
He said if they wanted to be creative and think outside of the box, they would have somebody make up pay-by-smart phone kiosks that explain how to do it.
“If we’re replacing pay stations every eight years at the cost of $11,000 to $14,000, you can see how it might be beneficial to start putting some kind of kiosks that are pay-by-your-smart phones to help get the word across,” he said.
If they removed a pay station from a pay station lot, consumers would be forced to go to their smart phones, he said. He suggested starting the integration by having a few smart-phone-only spaces.
“It depends how aggressive we want to be,” he said.
Committee member Kelly Trumble said that if they’re going to do something like this, it should be worked into the wayfinding master plan from ZEBRADOG.
Mayor Brian Landers asked if there would be a way to track per stall, per lot, to see if people are avoiding spots because they’re pay-by-smart phone-only.
Ward said it would have to be a stall in a pay station lot. In that pay station lot, they could put a sign up that says this is solely a pay-by-smart phone stall.
City treasurer Karen Terry said during a really busy week in the summer, they’re collecting about $10,000 to $15,000 in cash from the pay stations.
“That’s a lot of people that are still paying with cash,” she said.
Revenue from the app is doubling every year, but there are so many more people using the pay stations, Ward said.
“I think we’re behind the eight ball right now,” he said. “I think we really need to push pay-by-phone. There’s not one reason not to.”
Landers said he’d like to see the chief come back with a proposal.
Ward said maybe they could put together more promotional materials by the current kiosks to get consumers more interested in the app.
The new machines will replace the one behind Nig’s and the one across from the Police Department. He said he’s pretty sure the pay station by Showboat on the corner of LaCrosse and Broadway stopped working at the end of October.
If the Showboat one doesn’t need to be replaced, he said he would put an additional station next to it due to the heavy lines at that machine during the summer.
Koehler asked if there are any other additional places in the Dells that Ward thinks should have pay station this year.
Ward said they’re covered.
Trumble brought up wayfinding and said the street banner program is going ahead this year. She asked if it was a possibility to take the parking parts of wayfinding and start that ahead of time, instead of waiting for the full project.
“Is this something the parking board wants to take a look at?” she asked.
Koehler said he would hate to invest about $170,000 or $200,000 in something that could go in a different direction in a couple of years.
“I feel our town is small enough that people are finding parking,” he said.
“I’m a huge supporter of wayfinding,” Landers said.
He said he doesn’t think the city is ready for this yet. He said they need to really work on some anchor points before moving forward.