Parking meters have run out of time on the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater campus.
All meters on campus will be removed over Winter break and will be replaced with the phone application PassportParking Mobile Pay to monitor the old spots that required meters. The app shows Parking Services employees what spots are paid for in a certain parking area after the location is plugged into the application.
The changes should make the parking process easier according to UW-W Police Services Chief Matthew Kiederlen, who oversees parking on campus.
“Our mechanical meters are failing consistently. The cost of replacing those is significant,” Kiederlen said. “We didn’t feel that they were worth putting all of those assets into them, and this new technology seems more efficient,” he said.
The change is also better suited for students and the public, Kiederlen said.
“We’ve run into it time and again where people don’t have change. I think we’re moving away from a cash society, and we just felt like the timing is right.”
Kiederlen said it takes less than five minutes to make an account, but after that it takes just seconds to pay for parking.
“I’ve downloaded it myself and it’s really simple,” he said.
“The first time you use it, it might take a couple minutes, but after that it’s a matter of pulling up and punching in your space number so it takes a minute or less after that.”
While he was unsure if the change will decrease university costs overall, he knows the changes will simplify the process. With the changes, it’s easier for parking services to see what spaces are paid for, and the university doesn’t need to perform upkeep on the meters.
UW-W senior Eli Judson doesn’t use parking meters on campus because he prefers to find free parking elsewhere. He likes the idea of getting rid of meters.
“I think replacing the meters with the app is probably a more convenient way to handle things, but I have not used the app myself,” Judson said.
He also said he wishes parking was free because of the high tuition costs.
Whitewater Student Government Speaker of the Senate Charlie Kudy has been very involved with parking on campus and is a member of the parking committee. He thinks the change could help as well.
“The new app that Parking Services is hoping to roll out will reduce the costs as far as maintenance of the meters and hopefully utilize the time of our hardworking CSOs more efficiently,” he said.
“If it is marketed properly by Parking Service to the stakeholders that will be affected, I think it will be a great move. I am glad that Parking Services is moving forward. I know Chief Kiederlen has great things in store over the next few years as far as parking goes.”
If the project stays on track, all meters will be gone when students return for the spring semester.