Olympia to install 10 new solar-powered “pay-by-plate” kiosks


Olympia will start installing 10 new solar-powered pay-by-plate parking kiosks to modernize the process of payment for customers, Parking Services Field Representative Chelsea Baker said.

In a presentation at the Parking Business Improvement Area (PBIA) meeting on Wednesday, May 4, Baker said the kiosks would spread around downtown.

“They will be in the middle of the block everywhere, except for the area around the Children’s Museum, where we are placing one on the corner,” she said, adding those are PayByPhone-only parking systems.

She added that the new kiosks would allow mobile payment through PayByPhone parking app. “By our measures, about half of all the transactions downtown for parking are on the PayByPhone app. We are looking to try it.”

Baker added they will still keep other solar-powered meters, which need upgrading, in the busiest parts of the place for people who are used to meters.

She said the city will still utilize the older style MacKay parking meters, which are not solar powered, to provide cash options for people that do not take credit cards.

“We understand that not everybody has a smartphone, and not everybody can use bank accounts. We want to make sure that folks have a cash option if they need it,” Baker said.

Two phases to parking meter upgrades

The Parking Services will start working on the project’s Phase 1, installing the 10 kiosks sometime in June or July.

Baker said the Phase 2 project would be in August and September when Parking Services will create some blocks that are PayByPhone only. “We will be removing meters from those streets. Those will be in areas primarily that have nine-hour parking meters, where we are currently collecting very little to no money at all,” Baker said.

The city existing solar-powered parking meters are 10 years old already. She noted that most of the solar-powered meters died over the course of the winter. City staff is restoring those meters to service, Baker said.

“That is one of the issues we have been having with them. We are hoping that these [new] kiosks will be a major improvement over that and that they are not going to continually die and have battery issues,” Baker said.

Rates and time limits are not changing in any part of Parking Services enforcement area. 


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  • JulesJames

    Hurrah! Keeping the coin-op meters is an old-school charm that causes me to smile when paying. Frugal governance and smart marketing, all in one.

    Saturday, May 7 Report this