Oxford Square moves closer to prepaid parking

By The Associated Press

OXFORD — The city of Oxford is moving toward implementing a system that will allow people to prepay to park along the Square for extended periods without getting a ticket.

Downtown Parking Commission member Jeff Triplette tells the Oxford Eagle (http://bit.ly/IhtNPh) that the commission and the city want to solve parking problems on the Square.

Triplette said the commission and the board of aldermen will meet May 15 to look at a proposed contract with Chicago-based Standard Parking Corp. to manage the parking around the Square. The contract could come up for vote by aldermen on June 5.

The proposal is for Standard to install several pay stations around the Square. The stations will be solar powered and take debit and credit cards and coins. They will not be able to take dollar bills because they can’t give change.

“We expect some people might be upset we aren’t going with pay stations that take (paper) currency,” Triplette said. “But there’s just too much liability and maintenance for those machines. Someone will put in a $20 bill and expect change and they aren’t going to get it.”

Triplette said if aldermen also adopt the commission-proposed prepaid parking card, the pay stations will accept those as well.

Fees may be charged to credit or debit card users. Standard has recommended the city charge at least $1 an hour for parking. There will be no fees associated with coin payment or a prepaid Oxford parking card if developed.

The user will get a slip of paper to place on the dashboard, visible for parking enforcement officers.

If someone pays to park for four hours on the Square, they can move their vehicle several times and will not be limited to staying in one parking space. A 10-minute grace period will be allowed before a ticket is issued.

The annual operating budget will be $375,000 with an initial capital investment of about $500,000 that will go toward the pay stations and other equipment.

Brian Scoggins with Standard Parking said if the aldermen approve the contract in a timely fashion, the system could be up and running on the Square by Aug. 1.

The proposed contract calls for having paid parking for Monday through Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. An ending time each day has not yet been finalized.

Currently, a two-hour parking rule is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.