Computerized parking equipment brought to downtown East Lansing

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The idea was considered in October of last fall, according to City Council documents, and it agreed to spend as much as $1.7 million on computerized parking equipment. The contract was awarded to SKIDATA parking equipment on Jan. 10.

Removal of the booths that once employed staff lasted approximately one week.

According to East Lansing parking administrator Caleb Sharrow, equipment acquisition and installation cost roughly $1.6 million. The borrowed money will be paid back over 10 years. Gated lot equipment takes heavy abuse and has an expected lifespan of seven to 10 years, he said.

Sharrow said that attendants were given several months notice of the change. They were given the chance to apply for parking ambassador positions where they would assist customers via intercom.
Sharrow said only a couple attendants were not selected.

The equipment was installed in six downtown gated lots. It offers chip-enabled credit card reader technology for updated security. Along with exit lane pay-stations, there are also pay stations at the ground level of each elevator in the garages.

“This ‘pay-on-foot’ option allows customers to pay before returning to their vehicles, thus speeding up the exiting traffic,” Sharrow said.

The need to upgrade was apparent because of equipment failures and problems accepting credit cards.
“We have been mostly cashier-less for the past decade, with attendants only working in one lane during the peak hours,” Sharrow said. “The other lane was cashier-less and handled the majority of our traffic.”

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