LEWISTON — A Boston consulting firm recommended Monday night that city councilors revamp metered parking downtown to increase the number of spaces and increase the hourly rate.

A Boston consulting firm is recommending to the Lewiston City Council that the city replace its aging parking meters to increase the number of spaces and revenue from them. Sun Journal photo by Matthew Daigle

Dan Kupferman, director of Car Park Management Systems at Walker Consultants, said increasing the number of spaces from 200 to 250 and the rate from 50 cents to $1 per hour would boost revenue from $38,000 to $213,000 annually.

The city hired Walker Parking Consultants to study the effectiveness of its metered system and how to improve downtown parking.

During Monday night’s council workshop, Kupferman said Lewiston has 200 single-space meters on streets and 15 meters at a lot at Lincoln and Ceder streets.

The city charges 50 cents per hour from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for on-street parking. This generated $38,000 in gross revenue in 2017 and $5,400 in operating costs, he said.

“(The revenue) is considered pretty low,” Kupferman added.

He recommended the city replace all 200 meters with 35 that would cover multiple parking spaces in a specific area.

A majority of the new metered parking spaces would be on Lisbon Street, Kupferman said.

Kupferman said Lisbon Street, which was considered the busiest downtown street, has 12 paid parking spaces.

“All of the other parking spaces are unpaid and have one-hour time limits,” he said. “That’s a pretty low number of paid spaces on your busiest street.”

He recommended increasing the number of metered parking spaces on Lisbon Street to 83.

Kupferman also recommended increasing the on-street parking rate from 50 cents to $1 an hour to match rates at downtown parking garages.

Kupferman recommended a pay-by-plate system, where customers enter their license plate number into the meter, which records it in a database accessible by law enforcement.

He said that option is easier to enforce and provides accurate data on which spaces get the most and least use.

Depending on which vendor the city selected to lead the upgrade, the cost of procuring the system would be between $262,000 and $385,000, he said.

Michael Dostie of J Dostie Jewelers said he was concerned customers who shop at Lisbon Street businesses would be frustrated with the addition of paid parking spaces there.

“I strongly encourage the council to consider what implementing meters on Lisbon Street will do when we’ve had a culture of no meters for so long,” Dostie said.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said the next steps would involve “giving some thought to what option we’d like to pursue,” and figuring out how the project would be funded.

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