Digital parking meter plan up for a vote in N.J.

Trenton state Capitol building. (WHYY file photo)

Trenton state Capitol building. (WHYY file photo)

New Jersey’s Senate is expected to vote Friday on allowing towns to use digital parking meters that alert enforcement officers about any violation so they can ticket the offending vehicle.

The system is intended to change consumer behavior, said Brian Cassidy of Municipal Parking Services.

“So that they’re no longer deciding that they’re going to tempt fate and try to park at a meter without paying,” he told lawmakers. “Our system has shown that, when we install the system, the compliance rate with people paying for parking the way they should typically goes from the low 60s to about 95 percent in a matter of months.”

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, who supports using digital meters, said towns will have to use some discretion in issuing tickets.

“If they’re strictly going to enforce these laws, they will alienate customers. They will drive people out of their downtowns. They will antagonize their business community,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “They really need to be careful and cut people a lot of slack. Give them every opportunity. Give grace periods. If they do it that way, this will be OK.”

The legislation calls for a minimum three-minute grace period before a violation is recorded.

It also requires that a mobile application be integrated into the system to notify motorists before time expires on the meter and allow remote payment for additional time to avoid a ticket.

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