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Downtown BR's new parking kiosks still not working; city explains why

2 months 2 days 16 hours ago Thursday, January 26 2023 Jan 26, 2023 January 26, 2023 10:42 PM January 26, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The new parking kiosks in downtown Baton Rouge were installed October, but they haven't been activated yet.

The tall, black boxes are sturdy, weatherproof and tamper-resistant. The city-parish had to make sure the 100 solar-powered kiosks were positioned the right way so that the panels would be most efficient.

While they've been sitting in their locations non-operational, the city has been working with the vendor and a third party to get all the technology working.

"The last critical piece is the enforcement technology, making sure that's all integrated into the court system and the city-parish computer system," said city-parish spokesman Mark Armstrong.

The city is waiting on a tablet of sorts that will scan license plates so that Baton Rouge police officers can write tickets. Once those tablets arrive, signs will go up around downtown intersections notifying people to pay to park.

The new parking technology is something that's been discussed for at least the last decade. A contract with Flowbird was officially signed last year after a product delay brought on by the pandemic and supply chain issues. After the kiosks were installed, more time passed.

"I'm really hoping we're looking at a matter of weeks—if not a matter of months—to get them operational, but we have to do it right," Armstrong said.

That means making sure everyone operating the new technology is familiar with how it works, and that businesses are given notice. BRPD District 5 will be handling the enforcement by scanning the license plates, writing tickets and sticking them on the windshields of offenders.

The kiosks will take coins and credit cards. You can pay at the machine or by app. The Flowbird app will allow you to reserve parking, find a parking spot and tell you when your time is expiring.

As far as the old meters, some of them are still lining city streets, and people still feed them. When the kiosks are activated, parking costs will go up from 50 cents per hour to $1 per hour.

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