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Pay-By-Plate Parking Meters Will Allow Drivers To Pay By Credit Card

In the words of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, "Gone are the days when residents had to carry around bags of quarters to plug our meters."

New pay-by-plate parking meters were unveiled today on the North Shore. This technology will now have drivers paying for parking with cash or credit cards, and their license plate numbers.

Users will type their license plate number into the new multi-space meter and parking enforcement staff will be informed in real-time which cars are paid up and which are in violation. The company said a cell phone payment option will also be offered in the near future.

Pittsburgh Parking Authority Director Dave Onorato said while the meters are only available on the North Shore at this time, plans to install them elsewhere in the city are already in place.

"Today, we are going live with 12 units here on the North Shore, with approximately 540 units to follow in the South Side, Oakland, downtown, portions of the Strip District, and Uptown," Onorato said.

With the implementation of the new terminals, approximately 3,000 single space meters will be replaced and nearly 500 new parking spaces will be created. Jeff Nethery, General Manager of CALE America, the company which manufactures the meters, said international cities have been using the technology for some time, but it was tested in the U.S. just two years ago in Washington, D.C.

"It was a very successful pilot and while that was going on, other world class cities like Pittsburgh were already moving in the direction of this technology. Amsterdam and Calgary are two cities that have had these systems in place for several years and have been remarkably successful," Nethery said.

For the next couple of weeks, a group of people will be lingering around the meters throughout the North Shore wearing brightly colored t-shirts. Nethery said they are part of an effort started by Cameron Professional Group, which is managing the project, to educate the public about the new technology.

"They've assembled a great team of what we call 'Meter Greeters' to be out by the meters to answer questions that people may have not only about the meters, but about the parking system, and also to help anyone who needs help with the meters," Nethery said.

Mayor Ravenstahl said this will only reinforce Pittsburgh's image as the "Most Livable City" in the country. "We're cutting edge, we're investing in a system that works, that is user-friendly and we're proud to be the first U.S. city to do that," Ravenstahl said.

Ravenstahl officially became the first Pittsburgher to use one of the new meters after a ribbon cutting ceremony.