SCHENECTADY — Downtown has been quiet lately.
So only eagle-eyed passersby may have noticed the city ripped out all of its parking meters in early April.
Now the city is nearing the formal rollout of Passport, a new app-based parking system, and is asking motorists to download the software during the transition phase.
“This new feature will be an element of convenience we are adding to downtown that will allow users the ability to remotely manage parking from their smartphone,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy.
The meters have been replaced with signs instructing motorists on how to access Passport, although parking fees can also be made at existing kiosks at the same rates. .
Upon opening the app, users enter a multi-digit zone number, their license plate number and make an online payment, which can be extended remotely.
Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority introduced the app in two downtown lots in March, the Franklin and Liberty lot near City Hall and Clinton South, which is located behind Proctors.
The city is eyeing a soft rollout of Passport and an educational period before resuming full enforcement of on-street payment, McCarthy said.
Fees at both Metroplex lots and on-street parking remain suspended as a way to encourage visitation to a downtown slowly emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, which closed businesses and restricted City Hall from the general public.
“We’re still reviewing that on a daily basis,” McCarthy said.
The new system will likely result in cost-savings — collecting and counting coins from meters was labor intensive, McCarthy said. Many of the meters were antiquated and broken units resulted in a loss of revenue. But it will take time to zero in on precise numbers, the mayor said.
The app will cover roughly 900 on-street parking spots.
Monthly parking customers at Metroplex lots will not be affected.
For more information, visit parkschenectady.com. Download the free app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android devices).