Improvement to Downtown Parking coming December 2018

 

 Flowbird Group, a global supplier of urban mobility solutions, has partnered with the City of Biddeford, Maine, to launch a new pay-by-plate parking system to manage its parking demand and long-term economic structure.

 Parking in Biddeford has historically been free both on and off-street, and a recent analysis of downtown parking by city staff shows that parking supply has been drastically declining over the years. Limited parking has been attributed to growth in Biddeford’s urban core, along with a change in the residential market with more renters owning cars now more than ever.

 In early 2018, City Council voted to develop a parking management plan. Within the plan, 2-hour time limits were placed on free parking spaces on-street in the downtown core. In the off-street lots, City Council approved the installation of 15 Flowbird CWT pay-by-plate kiosks to manage a paid parking system. Each CWT kiosk features a full color display screen and is equipped to accept payment via credit and debit cards. Customers will also be able to pay using Flowbird’s mobile app, allowing users to add more time to their transaction remotely.

 Drivers will be able to purchase short-term parking for $1 an hour, or even purchase monthly permits starting at $20 directly at the kiosk.

 By limiting more spaces to two-hour parking, the intention is that turnover rate will increase. The goal is for visitors and residents to be able to find free short-term parking on the street to run a quick errand such as grabbing coffee or lunch. Alternately, those who want to park longer than the 2 hour limit may park in one of the longer-term off-street lots using the parking kiosk.

 The new parking program also addresses an issue in fairness for property tax payers. Due to Biddeford’s history of free parking, all costs associated with parking have been paid for by property taxpayers. By installing Flowbird’s parking kiosks, there will be a shift for who pays for parking – from property taxpayers, to those who are actually parking.

 The City of Biddeford’s permit parking system for downtown parking lots will officially begin the 1st week of December with 9 CWT pay-by-plate kiosks. The remainder of the 15 kiosks will be used for summer beach parking.

Currently, Flowbird supports over 40,000 parking pay stations for 600 customers throughout the US and has deployed mobile parking applications for 80 cities and universities across the country.  This project allows the company to continue its rapid expansion in Maine, where cities such as Portland, Ogunquit, and Old Orchard beach utilize Flowbird systems.

Posted: 30 Nov 18

A partnership between leading technology company Flowbird Transport Intelligence (previously Parkeon Transportation) and Poole Grammar School is opening up new learning opportunities for aspiring electronics engineers.

Flowbird has sponsored the purchase of printed circuit board (PCB) components for the school’s Electronics Club, enabling students to build and test a number of interactive projects over the autumn term.

The Poole-based company’s Product Manager, Malcolm Edwards, designed a PCB for the school that could be used to build many different projects, and also provided worksheets and practical support for the students each week.

Malcolm said: “The students are really excited and are lucky to have excellent, enthusiastic teaching staff at the school. They are learning fast and doing far better than I could ever have imagined. Well done guys!”

The first few projects involved programming a microcontroller to provide a sound-driven light show and to play different musical notes according to the distance of a student’s hand to the board. Numerous other projects will be built on the same board. The students will learn to add new interfaces and write software to take inputs from switches, sound, light levels, distance sensors and control servo motors, a loudspeaker and lights.

A number of students have already signed up for future iterations of the club, demonstrating their enthusiasm for electronics and their willingness to develop their practical and theoretical skills.

Paul March from Poole Grammar School, who is leading the club, said: “The students really appreciate the opportunity to take their electronics further and they get a lot out of it. They’re learning practical skills and theory outside of lesson time, which really expands their horizons and will trickle down to the whole class in lessons.” Paul reported that the students were so enthusiastic they started coming in at lunchtimes to continue their projects.

Malcolm Edwards, of Flowbird said: “Ultimately, engineering is all around us, and bringing industry knowledge into the classroom has not only helped students improve their science and mathematics, but also provided a way of thinking that will be beneficial in all aspects of their lives.”

Furthermore, with positive role models from Flowbird and Poole Grammar School, these talented young engineering students will be inspired to push the boundaries of their knowledge and explore electronics and programming still further.

Posted: 29 Nov 18

November 14th, 2018

A launching point for ‘Lots to Love’ Campaign among community

 

The Town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina has completed the installation of a new parking system in partnership with Flowbird, the world’s leader in curbside management and urban mobility solutions.  The system replaces the Town’s legacy multi-bay meters and its gated off-street systems, providing better ease of use, more functionality, and stronger reporting capability. 

At the end of 2016, the Town tested four Strada Pay Stations to ensure reliability and good service. Following the successful trial, Flowbird was awarded the project to enhance the parking systems both on and off-street in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill’s Town Council selected Flowbird’s Strada for the following features: 

  • Technology Opportunities - Supports multiple payment options and on-screen messaging features.
  • Design and Appearance - Solar powered pay stations that include a wide color screen that displays animated pictograms, vivid pictures and clear wording.
  • Security Features – Robust protection mechanisms that meet banking requirements. 

More than 60 new Strada kiosks have been installed by Flowbird’s North Carolina based distribution partner, Southern Time, on-street throughout downtown and off-street in all Town managed public parking facilities.  In addition to accepting payments by coin or credit card, the kiosks also accept validation codes which are created electronically in Flowbird’s Smartcenter back-office system and dispersed through the local merchants.  

All on and off-street transactions – coin, card, validation code, and mobile payment – are transmitted in real-time to Flowbird’s Smartcenter web based enforcement module.  The status of each space (paid, unpaid or grace period) is easily accessible by parking enforcement officers on wireless devices.  

“I’m extremely pleased that the Town put its trust in our team to deliver a solution that impacts so many people in downtown Chapel Hill,” said Benoit Reliquet, President of Flowbird North America. “The solution we’ve deployed there demonstrates the flexibility of our system by managing on-street and off-street parking payments along with merchant validations in one integrated platform.” 

The Town of Chapel Hill used the kiosk installation as a launching point for their ‘Lots to Love’ campaign to change the perception that parking is no longer hard to find or inconvenient. The campaign, in coordination with downtown merchants and business groups, aims to educate about the new parking system and more opportunities for parking downtown.  Check out this unique way to promote downtown parking at www.parkonthehill.com/lots-to-love.

Posted: 14 Nov 18

October 22nd, 2018

4 Applications combined in 1 to create one-of-a-kind app experience

Flowbird Group, the world’s leader in curbside management and urban mobility solutions, has announced that their newest mobile application will launch in November 2018.  The app, called flowbird, takes the customer friendly features from the company’s applications – Whoosh!, WayToPark, Yellowbrick, and PathToPark – and blends them together into one comprehensive mobility solution. 

The app will offer the following functionality: 

  • Mobile payments (iPhone, Android, web)
  • Coupon code acceptance (validation codes)
  • Real time parking occupancy (for select locations)
  • Find my car (for those who forget where they parked)
  • In car payments via Apple Car Play and Siri Payment 

The flowbird app was on display last week at the 2018 National Parking Association convention being held in Las Vegas, NV along with other innovative Flowbird solutions. 

“Our team is very excited about the launch of the flowbird mobile app,” said Benoit Reliquet, President of Flowbird North America.  “This app combines the best features of all of our brands while adding additional urban mobility services, making it easier for users to find and pay for parking.” 

Currently, Flowbird’s mobile applications are active in 15 countries and over 400 cities. The flowbird app will be available in the App Store and Google Play Store in a few short weeks.

Posted: 30 Oct 18

October 29th, 2018

Improvement to Downtown Goes Live 

The City of Beverly, Massachusetts, has partnered with Flowbird Group to launch a new pay-by-plate  parking system to manage and support its long-term economic vitality. Parking meters in the downtown area have been replaced with 95 Flowbird Strada kiosks, where drivers can now use a smartphone app, a debit or credit card, or coins to pay for parking. 

The decision to upgrade is due to a steady increase over the last 4 years in visitors coming to the downtown area to shop, dine and attend events. It was determined that although there was enough public parking in downtown, it was not being used efficiently or effectively. The City worked with a consultant to create a parking management plan for the downtown, including swapping out the antiquated, single-space meter heads in favor of multi-use kiosks. 

The new solar-powered Stradas are user-friendly with a large color screen and customized interface. The kiosks will function in pay-by-plate mode, instructing users to input their license plate number and parking duration. The user can then complete payment and is not required to display their receipt on their dashboard. Each kiosk accepts credit/debit cards, coins and are compatible with Beverly’s mobile payment app and citation issuance system. 

“People don’t come to downtown Beverly to park their car. They come to shop, dine or enjoy entertainment venues,” said Kevin Harutunian, Chief of Staff for the City of Beverly, “When the City decided to make the investment to upgrade its downtown parking program, we felt it was important to make the parking user experience a positive one.” 

The switch to a pay-by-plate system allows the City to implement permitted parking for both downtown businesses and residences living in congested areas. Permitted parking will be verified by enforcement officers via the vehicle’s license plate number. By implementing ‘Permit Parking Only’ and ‘4 Hour Parking’ zones in downtown residential areas, commuters will be encouraged to park in the nearby MBTA parking garage for just $2 per day. 

The new kiosks also allow the City to use a tiered system of parking rates, minimizing congestion in popular parking zones. The idea is to have spaces available downtown for people who want to patronize businesses, and to push people who may not mind walking, into less-expensive spaces further away. For example, in the “core” parking zones (busier streets like Rantoul and Cabot street), parking will be 75 cents per hour; 50 cents per hour in “secondary” zones; and 25 cents per hour in City parking lots. 

Under the new system, Flowbird’s kiosks are customized so that the first 20 minutes are free at any on-street space, allowing someone to grab a cup of coffee or other similar quick errand. The idea came from Mayor Cahill, who thought that those investing in downtown should not have to pay for a full hour of parking. 

"Our rates are very, very reasonable," said the City’s Commissioner of Public Services and Engineering, Mike Collins, “The top priority is to manage the City's parking, not make money. The revenue from the new system will be used to maintain it.” 

Currently, Flowbird supports over 40,000 parking pay stations for 600 customers throughout the U.S.  This project allows the company to continue its rapid expansion across the State of Massachusetts working together with its local distribution partner, Wescor Parking Controls, based in Auburn, MA.  The Wescor team managed the installation of Beverly’s Strada kiosks, and will provide local service and support.

Posted: 29 Oct 18

September 26, 2018

Chicago to Become Largest City in the U.S. to Implement Pay-by-Plate Technology

Flowbird, a world leader in the field of urban mobility and smart city solutions, has been selected by Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM) to deploy the latest in urban parking technology. The City of Chicago will be the largest in the U.S. to implement Pay-by-Plate parking, covering 36,000 metered spaces, with new user-friendly parking kiosks.

CPM will begin installation of over 4,000 Flowbird CWT Stealth kiosks, the latest model in the Flowbird product line, on October 1st.  The new technology represents a major upgrade to the city’s parking infrastructure and follows an industry trend as more municipalities switch from Pay-and-Display meters to a Pay-by-Plate system.

Pay-by-Plate provides a more convenient customer experience.  Each CWT Stealth is solar powered, wireless and features a touch screen interface similar to a tablet, instructing users to input their license plate and choose a parking duration.  The user can then complete payment in the form of a credit card or coins.  Users will no longer be required to display their receipt on their dashboard, and the kiosks even offer receipts via text, reducing the amount of receipt paper and saving on operations costs.

“Flowbird’s experience implementing large scale Pay-by-Plate systems was a major factor when choosing a partner for our project,”  said Dennis Pedrelli, CEO of Chicago Parking Meters, “That experience, combined with their commitment to continuous development of new products and services, helped us conclude that they were best suited to implement the new on-street parking system in Chicago.”

The new system is designed to bring innovation and convenience to Chicago and its mobility structure.  CPM will have access to Flowbird’s updated version of the CWO back-office parking management system featuring an enhanced big data analytics reporting environment.  Transaction data from the kiosks is integrated with the mobile phone payment solution and citation management system.

“We are extremely happy that we will continue over a decade of partnership with the CPM team using Flowbird’s latest technology to benefit Chicago citizens and leadership,” said Benoit Reliquet, President of Flowbird North America, “Through all of the extensive testing and valuable input from the Chicago team, we have developed a product and solution that is more reliable and durable than our industry has ever seen.  The technology is really a remarkable milestone.”

This latest project builds on an already successful collaboration between CPM and Flowbird, who has been supplying  Chicago with parking solutions since 2009. The new kiosks will begin appearing throughout the city next week. All 36,000 metered spots will have the new kiosks in place by mid-year 2019.

Posted: 26 Sep 18

September 4th, 2018

Smartphone App Now Used for Metered Parking Payment in Salisbury and Tisbury

Flowbird’s Whoosh! parking app has officially launched in two Massachusetts towns - the Town of Salisbury and the Town of Tisbury, making remote parking payment a convenient option for residences and visitors.

The Whoosh! mobile phone payment solution provides ultimate convenience to motorists. App users, otherwise referred to as, ‘Whooshers,’ can pay for parking with their iPhone, Androids, and even through the Whoosh! website. Users receive a text reminder when their parking is about to expire and may add more time if needed, all without having to walk to their vehicle.

Located on Martha’s Vineyard, The Town of Tisbury launched Whoosh! this summer along with a Flowbird Strada Pay Station. The Whoosh! App serves as an added convenience to the Town’s Park & Ride Lot, a paid parking solution for commuters and travelers to park for up to 60 days. The app allows motorists to extend their time remotely if needed.

Whoosh! went live in the Town of Salisbury after an upgrade to the beach town’s old coin-operated meters. In early 2018, six of Flowbird’s Strada Pay Stations were installed with Pay-by-Plate technology, making it possible to integrate the convenience of the Whoosh! mobile app payment.

Following its launch in Massachusetts, Whoosh! is now available in 20 states in the US, and has been launched in 11 countries around the globe.

Flowbird worked in conjunction with its local Massachusetts-based distribution partner, Wescor Parking Controls, on the launch of Whoosh! in both towns.

Posted: 04 Sep 18

PARKING PROFESSIONAL, MENSA MEMBER

We all know that parking and mobility professionals are smart. But some are super-smart—and they have the certificates to prove it.

They’re also modest. “I don’t know if it necessarily means you’re smart,” says Tom Szubka, CAPP, director of operations for Flowbird. “It says you have a high I.Q. Smart can be relative.”

He’s talking about his membership in MENSA, a nonprofit membership society for people whose IQs test in the top two percent of the population. Szubka tested in about 12 years ago and says he knows of at least one other IPI member who’s also been admitted to MENSA and bets there are more out there.

“It was a bucket-list thing,” he says of joining the group—sort of a curiosity. “I was an honor student in school but I didn’t get particularly great grades in college. I could get away without having to do a lot of work.” But lesson learned: His kids are straight-A students. He also says his brother, who’s very mechanically inclined and an auto mechanic, is probably smarter than he is.

“Measuring your IQ is more about process and problem solving—do you look at things a little differently than other people do?” he says. And having that ability isn’t always a plus. “It can be very frustrating when you have customers or end users who want to argue about things we consider very logical,” he says. “Why would someone who is a $200-per-hour attorney take the time to fight a $30 parking ticket?”

And he’s amused that other people find his MENSA membership worthy of a mention. “It’s certainly not a roller derby story,” he laughs.

See the original story here: https://www.parking.org/2018/08/17/parking-professional-mensa-member/ 

Posted: 28 Aug 18

Flowbird Regional Sales Manager, Laura Lierz, CAPP, has been elected as Chair for the Pacific Intermountain Parking & Transportation Association (PIPTA). Laura will serve for 2 years where she will move to Past-Chair for an additional 2 years.

Laura has been on the PIPTA board since 2006. She was elected as secretary of the board until 2016 when she moved into the Vice Chair role for 2 years.

As Chair, Laura is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association and is responsible to the Executive Committee and Board for implementation and administration of policies. She is the chief spokesperson and provides overall guidance on association matters and activities of its members.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Laura on the Board of Directors for a number of years and she has always provided stellar leadership in her roles on the PIPTA Executive Board,” said John Cowley, Sr. Regional Sales Manager, T2 Systems, “I am very excited about Laura assuming the Chair for PIPTA as her commitment to the many members of our organization, her tireless energy, and her passion for Parking will insure we are well-poised to support the Northwest for the coming years.”

PIPTA was founded by a group of professionals who saw value in a regional organization designed to provide those involved in parking and transportation programs with an open forum to discuss common challenges, share information and remain in touch of industry best practices. Membership consists of professionals from the states of Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. 

“We are proud to have a member of our team at the top of such an elite association as PIPTA,” says Andreas Jansson, VP of Sales, Flowbird, “This further demonstrates the quality and commitment of our leaders to the industry.”

Posted: 23 Aug 18

Officials announced the start of new payment options on Thursday

GoErie.com - Erie Mayor Joe Schember and officials with the Erie Parking Authority and the local developers of meterEZ announced during Schember’s weekly news conference on Thursday that two new ways of feeding the city’s parking meters are in place.

Two parking kiosks were installed outside of the Erie County Courthouse on West Sixth Street on Thursday morning to allow motorists to pay for meter time using coins, cash, credit cards or prepaid cards. A number of parking spaces can be paid for using a kiosk, and they can send text alerts if the user’s meter time is expiring, officials have said.

Also launched on Thursday was meterEZ, an app that allows motorists to pay for parking by phone.

“For many years, people in the city of Erie have had to carry quarters. That ends today,” said Christopher Friday, deputy director of the Erie Parking Authority. “As of today, you can download the meterEZ app and use a credit card for your parking payments.”

Nate Wheeler of weCreate website design in Erie said his company was instrumental in developing the parking app, and was very excited to see it launched. Using the meterEZ app, motorists can punch in their meter number and use a payment method to put time on the meter. The technology requires no infrastructure changes or additional costs, Wheeler said.

“Pulling up to a meter today and pulling out that app and paying for my parking in a couple of seconds without quarters was a pretty cool feeling, so we’re looking for quarter-quitters,” he said.

Users of meterEZ will be notified by text to the person’s cell phone if the meter time is running out and more time needs to be purchased, Wheeler said. Parking Authority employees will be equipped with technology to verify that a meter is paid for, he said.

Friday said the Erie Parking Authority is working diligently to bring new technologies to the city, and he asked anyone with suggestions to pass them along as the work moves forward.

 

 

Tim Hahn can be reached at 870-1731 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNhahn.

Posted: 09 Aug 18
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