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New Parking Meters Mean Demand-Based Pricing is on the Way

One of the new technologically advanced meters in Little Tokyo | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
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After new high-tech "coin and card" meters were unveiled last week, KABC's Michael Linder over the weekend brought attention to them, saying they mean more than just credit card payments. "Street sensors and smart meters are being installed from the Garment District to Chinatown, Civic Center to Little Tokyo, able to send demand data to computers that can boost meter rates in a heartbeat," he said.

The downtown-focused project, called ExpressPark, is part Metro's federally-funded $290-million ExpressLanes Congestion Reduction Demonstration Project, which will also "bring demand-based toll pricing to the carpool lanes of the 110 and 10 freeways," according to blogdowntown in a report last year.

Studies have shown that 90% of congestion is thanks to people cruising for cheap parking. A system that would base pricing on time of day (how the project will first work) or demand (how the project will probably lead to) should always leave about 30% of spaces open on any given street. “When the blocks are full, the price will go up. When blocks are empty, the price will go down," the project's manager, Peer Ghent, told Linder.