For those who have been enjoying the free parking on local streets in recent weeks, the party is almost over. On November 5, Princeton’s new “smart” parking meters will be up and running, so it will be back to paying to park at the 1,100 metered spaces throughout town.

There has been some confusion about why the old meters were removed before the new ones were ready to go. According to Princeton Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton, it was an issue of height.

“The new meter equipment is a different size than our existing meter equipment,” she explained. “With the LED screen readout, the new meters needed to be a little bit shorter in order to be viewed properly. So we had to take out the old meters and cut the poles before installing the new ones. That’s why we had the gap.”

It has been more than a decade since Princeton updated its parking meters. The replacement program is part of an overall parking project that is being unveiled in stages.

Meter hours have been streamlined, and are now the same in all metered
streets and surface parking lots, with the exception of the lot at the Wawa, which is enforced all day and every day. New hours at meters and new pay stations, which were installed in early October in the Princeton Station lot and adjacent Alexander Street and lower Princeton University parking, are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, till 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 8 p.m.

The new meters will accept coins, credit cards, and mobile payment. The Park Princeton App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play starting on the meter launch date, November 5. The new rules do not allow for reparking, so vehicles cannot park on the same block for two hours after the maximum time limit has been reached.

The new meters will have information on labels about new zones and space numbers, if applicable. “The new meters are a lot easier to use, and they create more opportunities,” said Stockon. “If merchants want to participate, there is a voluntary validation program through the mobile app so they can validate some of a person’s parking stay. We also have the opportunity to really easily edit messaging on the meters, changing it as we need to.”

For more information about parking changes and upgrades, visit www.PrincetonNJ.gov.

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