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New pay-and-display machines ordered for Brattleboro parking lots

BRATTLEBORO—Four of the town’s parking lots will get new pay-and-display machines.

Harris, Harmony, High Grove and Preston lots will each receive a new machine. Three of the machines will accept coins and the town’s parking Smart Cards. The final machine, slated for the Harmony Lot, will also accept dollar bills.

The cost for the units, installation, and enabling use of the Smart Cards totals $47,950.

The town had considered setting up the machines to accept credit cards but decided the monthly fee of $45 per machine too prohibitive.

With the addition of a pay-and-display machine, the Harris Lot will revert to its original split of permitted and open parking spaces, said Selectboard Chair Dick DeGray.

According to DeGray,  the Parking Enforcement Department over the summer removed 50 of the 64 meters from the lot to make way for permits and posted a “permit parking only” sign.

The change and sign confused drivers, despite the fact 14 metered spaces remained.

The cost of the new machines will come from the parking budget, said Town Manager Barbara Sondag.

The improvements are considered a capital expenditure and came before the Selectboard at Tuesday’s meeting because it had not been previously approved.

Selectboard member Martha O’Connor said that the board needed to have more “serious discussions” about parking in Brattleboro soon.

In a separate interview Tuesday, DeGray said the board would discuss revising the parking ordinance in January.

The board will consider two changes, he said: removing meters on Elm Street and requiring the Parking Enforcement Department to get Selectboard approval before altering permitted and metered spaces.

Revenue generated by parking in Brattleboro, both parking fees and enforcement, goes toward paying the debt accrued by building the Transportation Center, said DeGray.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #81 (Wednesday, December 29, 2010).

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