Joyce Furlong and Anne Pinkerton used to park in downtown Reno a lot. Not anymore. Like too many others, they've been burned by the new computerized parking system. Joyce told us, "To use the kiosk, I was confused. It was very hard to see the screen. And I forgot what my space number was and had to walk back and get it." After her experience, Anne said, "I just avoid going downtown anymore, just because of the kiosks."
The complaints aren't just from drivers. Businesses, like SoDo Restaurant and Bar on Hill Street, have a big stake in the parking kiosks. Joel Giandalia's restaurant depends on people coming downtown. So far, the new system has done the opposite. He told us, "Most recently it's been a hindrance. We have had guests who have walked in the door and been quite upset with not being able to get them to function right."
The city insisted on improvements after all the complaints of kiosks that were slow...some not even working at all. Up to now, the city has taken a hit with these: parking income dropped by a third, and hundreds of parking tickets were dismissed over malfunctions.
The company, Curb System, said malfunctions stemmed from a power problem. Here's what the company did: they strung 2 miles of underground wire to power the kiosks differently. They also changed the instructions on the screen. The company's Cyrus Baseghi gave us a demonstration: "What you notice now is that we've added the hours of operation to the home screen, and we made it so it can't take payments outside of hours anymore."
That eliminates some confusion...parking is free after 6:00pm and all day Sunday. You can also now use your credit card if you spend at least $2. If you prefer, or if find the kiosk broken, you can also pay with your smartphone.
But some issues remain. At the kiosk we stopped by, the sun washes out the screen, making it hard to read. Curb's Cyrus Baseghi told us, "You know, on this one...some of them they are hard to read and we put a sunscreen on them."
Back at SoDo, Joel says the city has listened to his concerns. He's hopeful the system's latest adjustments start filling his restaurant. As he put it, "That's all we can really ask, that the city continues working on it, and the guests are understanding in the meantime." But Joyce and Anne tell us, if they do come to eat, it will be with their new hassle-free, no-cost option: using their bikes.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
Aces Release 5/24/2013 In his first game of a Major League Rehabilitation Assignment from the Diamondbacks, infielder Willie Bloomquist boosted the Reno Aces to an 8-5 win over the Tacoma RainiersMore >>
Bloomquist went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored.More >>