Greenfield does test run of parking kiosks in downtown

New parking kiosk near the Garden Theater on Main St.  Recorder/Paul Franz

New parking kiosk near the Garden Theater on Main St. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — While the Chapman and Davis streets municipal parking lot is closed for repaving and sidewalk installation until at least June, the town has decided to take that opportunity to remove six parking ticket dispensers from there and install them on Main Street to see how motorists feel about using them rather than meters.

Marjorie Lane Kelly, the town’s finance director, said the town wants to know how people would feel about Greenfield doing away with parking meters throughout the downtown and instead installing kiosks for every 12 to 16 spaces.

Kelly said the town doesn’t want to spend the money on new kiosks until it knows how they will be received, but believes it will make life a lot easier for the town and motorists, because unlike the meters, each kiosk could be programmed for a different “maximum time.”

“The meters have a two-hour maximum for turnover purposes,” said Kelly. “We could program the kiosk near the movie theater, for instance, for a longer maximum time so that someone watching a movie wouldn’t have to feed the meter partway through or get a ticket.”

Kelly said town officials also believe kiosks would make the downtown more attractive, and because they take credit cards, would make it easier on people who forget to bring change for a meter.

“We have about 100 meters on Main Street,” said Kelly.

That means the town could replace those with about 10 kiosks. Depending on what type of kiosk the town chooses for its downtown, it could cost about $13,000 or more for each one.

She said the test kiosks, which will be returned to the Chapman and Davis streets lot when work is complete, will be placed between Hope and Conway streets.

“That’s where the most traffic is,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to getting input from citizens.”

Kelly said the kiosks, if the town decides to install them downtown permanently, would be placed so that there are six to eight parking spaces on either side of them. She said that would allow a parent to still see children while retrieving a ticket from a kiosk.

She said putting kiosks along Main Street would also make it easier for the town’s public works department to clear snow from around them in the winter.

Kelly said the bases for the kiosks have been installed and at least a couple of kiosks on the east side of Federal Street had been installed by Friday afternoon.

She said when the kiosks are up and running next week, the town will place colored cards on all meters involved, directing motorists to use the kiosks, not the meters.

“Then, we’ll see what happens,” she said.

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