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Parking Meters Installed at the Square, Operational Sept. 1

Parking meters will go into operation on the Square on Sept. 1. Photos by Ed Meek.

Parking meters have been recently installed into the poles that have been occupying the Square since Bennett Construction placed them there last month.
The meters will not go into service until Sept. 1, according to Matt Davis, Oxford’s parking director.
Davis said, “The payment method is being finalized. There will be options of cash, coins or the card.”
According to Davis the parking meters operate from Monday to Saturday from 10 A.M. to 10 P.M. at a rate of $1 an hour. He said, “The meters have cellular modem on Verizon network so the rates can change at any time depending on football games and the like.”
Davis said, “You can pay for the day, say 10 hours at once, but not on game days. During game days, there’s a max of three hours per payment. Or you can pay for each individual hour.”
This is how some employees on the Square are reacting to the new meters. Mark Shoemake, manager of Hinton & Hinton, said, “These parking meters are a blessing and a curse. “
Beth Baggett, Deputy City Clerk, and her mother, Sandy Barnett, discuss the new parking meters being in stalled on the Square Thursday.
Beth Baggett, Deputy City Clerk, and her mother, Sandy Barnett, discuss the new parking meters being in stalled on the Square Thursday.

Shoemake said, “They’re good for employees and Square residents. These parking meters deter people who park but aren’t going to shop or pay for anything on the Square — so their car takes up the space instead of paying customers. But they’re a curse in the sense that people are paying a premium to shop at their favorite stores and eat their favorite foods and all the Square has to offer. It’s a privilege for consumers to want to come to us; it shouldn’t be a hindrance for them.”
He offered this unsolicited idea to city planners: the parking garage should be used by the Square’s residents and its businesses’ employees. He said, “We could buy a year’s parking pass and use the garage so there will be more room, and maybe so the customers won’t have to pay instead.”
The parking situation is not new to Oxford. Central Parking System, a nationwide agency that provides evaluation and advice on how to better manage parking situations for cities and towns, wrote a report for Oxford in September 2006. It recommended paid parking method to the city then.
An excerpt: “…The main reason to charge for parking is to ration a limited supply of a coveted product not solely to generate revenue, although that too is important. By charging for parking, people will be encouraged to move from spaces as quickly as possible in order to pay for as little as possible and subsequently spaces are made available to others. Thus, charging for parking makes fewer spaces feel like more.”
The full version of the 27 page report is available here.
Regardless of the conflict of opinions over the parking meters in the Square, the meters are here and they’ll be in operation starting Sept. 1. Oxford’s Parking Division provided a video to help Oxonians learn how to make payments on the new parking meters.
Callie Daniels is a HottyToddy.com staf writer. To talk to Callie about this story, contact her at Callie.Daniels@HottyToddy.com

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