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Broken Downtown Parking Meters Will Be Replaced

When you come downtown, do you drive around looking for a broken parking meter so you don’t have to pay?

Enjoy it while you can. The Athens Downtown Development Authority is about to replace most of its old, coins-only meter—including 60 broken ones—with new models that also accept credit cards.

Parking Director Chuck Horton asked the ADDA board Tuesday for $256,000 to buy 400 new meters, plus 189 sensors that detect when a car leaves a space and resets the meter to zero, which he said will bring in additional revenue.

Horton estimated that the ADDA is missing out on $9,000 a month in revenue because of the busted meters.  Having so many broken meters also looks bad for the city when visitors are in town, like the Methodist convention going on at the Classic Center, he said.

There would still be 117 of the old meters in low-traffic locations, but Horton said he can cannibalize the other 400 for parts to keep them running.

The pay-and-display meters on several downtown blocks would remain in place for now, although the ADDA has discussed replacing them, too, because they confuse people and break frequently.

The ADDA board agreed to forward Horton’s request to the Athens-Clarke County Commission, which will have to approve the spending. That shouldn’t be a problem, said ADDA board member and Commissioner Mike Hamby, because SPLOST money is set aside for downtown.