The Gazette story (“C.R. parking core gets most attention,” Oct. 3) on the parking system, and particularly Jon Dusek’s comments near the end, overlooked one glaring fact: The machinery doesn’t work very well.
The very day the story ran, I found myself at a parking meter downtown. I put coins in the kiosk, which it refused to accept. They fell straight through to the change bin. I tried a credit card, which the kiosk asked me to insert and remove, insert and remove, insert and remove. I tried a different card. Same drill, although the kiosk did eventually tell me that it couldn’t read the card. I tried coins again, and this time they worked. I was late to a meeting, but at least it didn’t cost me a $7.50 ticket.
The kiosks play some variation on this theme at least half the time I try to use them.
I like the idea of the new system and everything claimed for it, and I am not a habitual complainer about metered parking in Cedar Rapids. I can usually find a space quite convenient to my destination and I am happy to pay the system’s very reasonable rates — if only the machines would allow it. If the operators want to use the new parking system as an economic development tool, it needs to work as reliably as the low-tech meters it replaces.
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