From Parking Meters to Kiosks
In December 2015, the City of Lethbridge hosted an informational session informing Lethbridge residents about an impending upgrade to the downtown parking system. Val Fellger, the initiative’s coordinator, outlined reasons for updating the existing parking system saying, “Approximately 95 per cent of the parking meter infrastructure, parking meter housings and support poles are greater than 25 years old. These housings and poles are starting to show signs of wear and look unkempt. Many of the meters cannot be reprogrammed to accept new coins or other payment options.”
The city pondered three options for the improved system. Eighty per cent of residents surveyed by the city selected the type of hybrid system that is now in place. The city chose a vendor in August 2017, and by June 2018 the new system was up and running with 1,526 coin-operated parking meters replaced by 170 multi-space kiosks.
The city’s acting parking coordinator during part of the transition period, Phillip Berg, said that “It was pretty hectic.” Prior to the project, Berg worked closely with the coin-operated parking meters as Lethbridge’s parking and traffic technician. He said, “[The meters] were broken. There was a lot of pieces that were ‘frankensteined’ together to allow the meters to function. There were times that I was taking and grinding down parts to make them work. When I first started, I called the manufacturer of the housings [and asked to order parts]. They laughed at me and [sent me everything they had left for free]. I got all these old dusty boxes with pieces wrapped in newspaper, and I would build whatever I could to get them out on the street.”
On July 4, 2018, the City of Lethbridge removed a parking meter from the 300 block of 3 Street South and donated it to the Galt Museum & Archives.
To read more interviews about the coin-operated parking meter donated to the Galt, visit our online database at https://collections.galtmuseum.com.