D.C. installs state-of-art parking meters

March 17, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- Crews are installing state-of-the-art parking meters in downtown Washington, replacing old and damaged meters in an effort to recover lost revenue - and to bolster the battered image of the nation's capital.

Only 7,000 of the city's almost 16,000 parking meters work. Many have been vandalized, causing a decline in parking revenues from $1 million a month in 1995 to $260,000 a month in October 1997.

The city's Financial Control Board, which oversees many municipal operations, contracted Lockheed Martin IMS, primarily known as one of the nation's major aerospace companies, to install vandal-resistant meters. The contract was approved by the City Council in early February, and crews quickly began replacing the old meters.

City officials predict that the new digital meters will produce $15 million of revenue a year. The money is important to the financially troubled city, but the installation also represents a small but highly visible change in the image of the capital.

"Installation of new parking meters is proof that we are moving in the right direction," said Andrew Brimmer, the chairman of the Financial Control Board. "These new meters will improve performance, improve revenue and make government more responsive to the needs of the people."

Meters are to be installed in downtown Washington within 90 days, and throughout the District of Columbia within seven months.

Work crews are targeting the areas that are losing the most revenue because of broken meters.

Pub Date: 3/17/98

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