Stockton Weighs Options in Stolen Parking Meter Problem

STOCKTON -- The City of Stockton is looking at several different options when it comes to vandalized and stolen parking meters.

City officials say there used to be 1,700 meters in downtown Stockton. Now, that number is closer to just 250 -- a costly problem for the city.

"I mean just the lack of revenue and just the cost of repair and replace some of the meters is probably in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," Economic Development Director Micah Runner said.

Runner says the city is looking to completely do away with older, coin-operated meters. Officials are exploring meters that work in tandem with a smartphone app or can be operated with a credit or debit card. These meters would still accept coins, for drivers who do not carry cards.

"Instead of just kinda replacing old meters and old technology, we’re really having a conversation about the future of the parking meters and what the best options are moving forward," Runner said.

Lately, the missing parking meters have left some drivers confused. Some of the meters have had their tops sawed off.

Despite the missing meters, the city still enforced parking limits and cited drivers who stayed parked too long.

"I actually hope they don’t do any of the above," Deliberation Room owner Jacob Benguerel said. "I hope they just leave it at hourly and write people a ticket who exceed the time limits."

Benguerel says as long as the city cites drivers for staying too long, meters are unnecessary.

Runner says revenue from the meters goes toward the parking authority, which helps pay for existing and new parking garages.