Credit-card parking meters coming to downtown Phoenix

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Coinless parking is coming to downtown Phoenix in the next few months.

Thanks to a city plan to install parking meters that accept credit and debit cards, drivers will no longer have to worry about carrying change when parking downtown. Right now, surface lots and garages are the options for drivers wishing to pay with credit cards.

The City Council will vote on contracts with companies in San Diego and New Jersey for the installations later this month.

The goal is to have as many as 500 meters in and running by mid-January. The first phase is expected to cost about $500,000.

The city has 2,400 parking meters, but there is no timetable to complete the conversion. When the project is complete, there will likely be a mix of single meters and multiple-space pay stations.

Several other cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., have already made the change to credit-card parking meters.

For those drivers who prefer to pay the $1.50/hour parking fee with change, the credit-card meters will accept coins, as well as plastic.

With the exception of holidays, parking meters in Phoenix operate Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

According to the city, those meters generated nearly $2.1 million in revenue for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.