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Computer Glitch Delays Start Of Bloomington Parking Meters

A Bloomington resident checks the parking meter on Morton Street. Meters were not being enforced Monday because of a computer glitch.

Bloomington officials are working to correct glitches with the city’s new downtown parking meters.

Shortly after turning on the first set of parking meters along Morton Street, city officials noticed the machines were charging customers incorrect amounts for the credit card convenience fee.

Bloomington Public Works Director Susie Johnson says city officials decided to only put a few of the meters online so they could catch any glitches like these that might occur. Now, she says IPS Group, the company that installed the machines, is working to fix the problem, and the city should be back on track soon.

“So what we want to do with the parking meters is to have our parking turnover frequently so that our downtown businesses can utilize those on-street spaces closest to their business for customers to come in and visit their stores and try to get people that need longer term parking – like downtown employees, people coming down for an all day conference or something like that – try to get them to our parking garages,” Johnson says.

Travers Marks, partner at Max’s Place restaurant on the Bloomington square, says the new meters are a step in the right direction but before all the meters are operational, the city needs to do a better job of informing people about their parking options.

“We need to have free parking garages and we need to advertise the fact that we have free parking garages. Go ahead and put the meters on the street then put a sign up there that says, ‘Or if you’d like to park for free one block to the right is the parking garage where you can park for free for two hours,'” he says.

When the parking meter ordinance was passed earlier this year, the city required that free three-hour parking be available in three city lots and two garages.

The city is installing more than 1,400 meters that are expected to be up and running in the first part of August.

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