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The Marquette Downtown Development Authority is upgrading downtown's parking system technology, sayingit will provide more flexible stay-times and convenient payment options.

Beginning the week of January 9, the DDA will be replacing the outdated existing parking meters (circa 1950) throughout the downtown district with new smart meters. The new meters accept coins as well as VISA, MasterCard and Discover credit cards.

The cost for metered parking will increase to 50 cents per hour. The DDA anticipates adding a pay-by-phone feature in the near future to further enhance user convenience. Over the course of 2017, additional meters will be phased in throughout downtown as the DDA continues to implement the comprehensive parking management strategy adopted by its Board of Directors and the Marquette City Commission.

In addition to the smart meters, a pay-by-plate pay station has been installed in the lower level of the Bluff Street Parking Ramp in the center of the south wall. Upon parking, users are required to enter their license plate number into the pay station and make the appropriate payment for their desired stay-time.

Additional pay stations will be installed in the future in both the lower level of the parking ramp and the North Main Street Parking Lot. Other public lots and the upper level of the Bluff Street Parking Ramp will continue to offer complimentary 2-hour parking for those who choose that option.

All parking meter and rental permit revenue returns to the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, where it is reinvested into snow removal and maintenance of safe streets, sidewalks, walkways and parking areas throughout the downtown district. The City of Marquette Police Department continues to enforce parking regulations, with all funds from parking violations going into the City's general fund.

The downtown parking system has consistently run a substantial deficit over recent years, so these changes are needed in order to balance the costs of parking management and ensure the long-term sustainability of the downtown district.

For more information, contact the Marquette Downtown Development Authority at (906) 228-9475.

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