City of Houston begins upgrades to downtown parking meters

New meters feature solar power, mobile pay and anti-jam technology

HOUSTON – The City of Houston is upgrading parking meters around downtown with the installation of 276 new solar-powered parking meter pay stations.

The new pay stations have longer-lasting batteries, work faster and feature improved networks.  The upgrades will also allow customers to pay with their license plate number rather than use a dashboard receipt.

"Our goal is to make parking in Houston quick and easy for our customers," said Maria Irshad, assistant director for ParkHouston.  "Customers were tired of printing dashboard receipts and paper jams every time it rained."

The new stations feature a paper jam sensor that can withstand local humidity and rain.  Customers can also enable text notifications allowing them to re-feed their meter from their mobile device with a credit card before their time expires.

This is the first phase of a $10 million plan approved last fall to update the city's entire fleet of parking pay stations.  The upgrades are slated to take place over the next five years.