LYNN — In one month, residents can pay for parking on their cellphones.
Robert Stilian, the city’s acting parking director, spent all of Tuesday putting in new solar-powered, electronic parking kiosks. As part of a $60,000 department-wide upgrade, parking employees are in the process of installing kiosks and replacing all of the old coin-operated meters with electronic ones, he said.
After the installations are complete and the new system is implemented citywide, Stilian said drivers can pay via the “PayByPhone” mobile app in 30 days.
“This all started two years ago when we began updating some of the old meters,” said Stilian. “Mayor McGee and Ward 5 Councilor Dianna Chakoutis have really been on this. I think it’s going to help quite a bit with the business community and for the downtown residents because now they’ll have the flexibility to pay their meters, and extend their times, on the go.”
There will be 13 parking kiosks throughout the city’s streets, four kiosks in downtown parking lots, and 150 new tech-savvy meters. The updated meters can be paid via the app or a credit card, and the kiosks, also equipped to handle payments through the app, can take credit cards, cash, and coins.
Stilian took the position of acting parking director four years ago but he has been a department employee for 25 years. He said these upgrades should have been put in place a long time ago.
“We were so antiquated with things,” he said. “It’s not about the revenue, it’s about getting people moving along and getting downtown parking the way it’s supposed to be. We are finally joining the 21st century.”
This won’t be the only upgrade for the parking department, according to Stilian. It recently created additional parking on Willow Street, near Revolution Pie + Pint, by getting rid of a “No Parking” zone.
In six months, according to Stilian, there may be zones in the downtown with extended parking times and by summer there may be cars available to rent in the Andrew Street lot, similar to the Zipcar experience.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to make parking flow in the downtown,” he said.