Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No More Free Ride on Main Street

If all goes according to plan, come October you will no longer be able to park for free on Main Street in Ellicott City. Last night the county unveiled plans to institute a new high tech parking system for the historic district which will eliminate the current two hour free grace period for parking on Main Street. The Main Street spaces will become premium spaces costing a buck an hour.
The rates are going up in the existing metered spaces too, doubling from twenty five cents an hour to fifty cents an hour. The existing parking meters will be replaced by thirteen of these pay stations spread around the town. According to this story by Lindsey McPherson in Explore Howard, “Each paid parking space will have a number that the person will enter into the multi-space meter when he pays for the allotted time he plans to spend downtown.”

 Unlike the Easy Park system in Baltimore, these new devices don’t print out a ticket that needs to be placed on your dashboard. All you do is tell the meter which space you’ve parked in, pay the required amount and then go about your business. Another feature allows you to remotely add more time using your phone instead of schlepping back to the meter.

The good news is that, for now at least, free parking will still be available in the old mill town. According to the county, 351 spaces in parking lots A, D, and F will remain free of charge.

The county expects the new system to pay for itself in three years.

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