Downtown parking meters total $18,000 in March

Taylor Kerns

Parking meter collections in Kent totaled more than $18,000 in March, according to Grants and Neighborhood Coordinator Dan Morganti, in an email.

“I think that’s on average about what they make,” said Bridget Susel, director of Kent’s Community Development. According to Susel, $18,000 is in line with collections the city has made since the meters were activated last spring.

There more than 220 parking meters on the streets of Kent. The meters operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and accept coins and credit cards. Installation of the meters began in 2014, and the meters started requiring payment in May 2015.

According to Susel, revenue from the meters is currently allocated strictly to fund the meter program. However, the use of these funds will be reviewed later this year.

Susel said the meters have costs associated with them, including salary for an additional parking enforcement officer, cellular Internet and processing fees for card payments, which accounted for one third of meter revenue in March. These expenses are in addition to the original $216,000 installation cost and $37,000 for site prep work. 

Susel said the meters benefit local businesses more so than the city and were installed to prevent drivers from parking for extended periods in spaces designated for customers of downtown shops.

“Meters provide a financial incentive to comply with the two-hour limit,” she said.

Some businesses that still have unmetered street parking have requested additional meters be installed. Susel said that the requests are under consideration, but if new meters are added, the amount will not be significant.  

“They’re a pain,” said Ethan Williams, a food delivery driver in Kent.

“I’m in and out of places all day and now I have to carry nickels and dimes to drop in these meters,” he said.

Taylor Kerns is the parking and transportation reporter. Contact him at [email protected].