The first step in downtown parking changes being considered in Aurora will bring an automated payment system and 24-hour access to the Stolp Island parking deck at Downer Place and Stolp Avenue.
The city council this week approved a $209,387 contract for the automatic payment system and began discussing another technology upgrade that could help enforce time limits if aldermen choose to eliminate downtown parking meters.
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The meters may be on the chopping block as aldermen on the council's finance committee proceed with parking discussions next month. If meters are eliminated, the city may buy a license plate recognition system to help enforce parking time limits.
Although talks are continuing, aldermen unanimously approved the automatic payment system for the Stolp Island Parking deck as a way to offer more efficient handling of credit and debit card payments.
"It also should increase our revenue because we could have the ability to keep this open 24 hours a day," said Joseph Hopp, superintendent of maintenance services.
The deck generated $118,000 for the city in 2011 from daily parking fees of 50 cents an hour after the first hour up to a maximum of $2.50 a day, city spokesman Kevin Stahr said. Those fees could increase to $1 an hour after the first hour or $5 a day as part of the new plan.
The Stolp Island deck now is staffed by two part-time attendants working a total of 55 hours a week. Stahr said the city is considering options to absorb those employees into the workforce in another position once the automated payment system, purchased from Automated Parking Technologies of Chicago, is installed.
Downtown parking is expected to be discussed next during the Jan. 8 finance committee meeting.