Some area residents were perplexed as they searched the Apple App Store in vain Monday morning. They were looking for the new Princeton parking app on what had been billed as the first day of the new municipal meter system. But it turns out the app was only available for android phones via an app search Monday morning. The Apple version was not available yet from the iTunes store, but was available for iPhones via the website parkprinceton.ppprk.com. The Apple iTunes store version became available Monday evening.
New meters also have not been installed in many areas of town yet. Town officials could not figure out a system to remove old meters and replace them with new meters at the same time. Old parking meters were removed over the last few weeks and people were able to park in town for free, meaning a loss of revenue for the municipality. Drivers assumed the new meters would all be in place by today for the first day of the new system. People could be seen walking along Witherspoon Street and other side streets Monday morning trying to figure out where to pay for their parking spots. Some tried to put money in new meters and a message informed them that the meters are not operational until Nov. 6.
Some pay stations also still needed decals Monday to indicate what zones the stations serve.
“Our new parking system is live beginning today. Please be patient with us as we work out the technical problems on the new pay stations and single space meters,” officials informed people on municipal social media channels at about 10:30 a.m. Monday. “The mobile app is only available for download on android phones. We will keep you posted on the iPhone app. The zone numbers are on the single space meter decals and will be on the pay stations hopefully by the end of the day today. The install of the new meters will be completed by November 8. Again, we appreciate your patience as we work through the early problems we are having.”
Many municipalities in the area, including New Brunswick, Lambertville, New Hope and West Windsor, use the general ParkMobile app to manage their metered parking for people who want to pay by app. Princeton is using an company called Passport, and Princeton has its own branded app.
Officials debated using a dynamic pricing system for parking where people would pay more during peak hours or pay more the longer they stay in parking spots, but then decided on what one official called a “more vanilla system” because it would be easier to implement.
Under the new meter system, parking rates have gone up to make up for the anticipated lost revenue from fines, as well as the capital costs of installing the new system. If you want to park at a two-hour meter for the full two hours, it will now cost you $4.50. Following are the new parking meter rates:
Single Space Meters
15-minute meters – 55 cents for 15 minutes
30-minute meters – $1.15 for 20 minutes
2-hour meters – $2.25 per hour
3-hour meters – $1.50 per hour
All-day meters – 75 cents per hour
Zone 6093 – 75 cents per hour
Zone 6094 – $4 for 24 hours (1-7 days)
Smart cards can still be used at the Spring Street Garage until April 20 of 2019.