New Smart Parking Meters are now Installed in Downtown Lincoln

The New “Smart” Meters

The city has finished installing 1,400 new “smart” parking meters downtown. Lincoln paired with Duncan Parking Solutions and three teams from Republic Parking to install the meters.

Duncan Parking Solutions arrived in Lincoln February 19 and has been programming the meters for each location and testing their use for credit cards and coins. Duncan Solutions also had to replace and install new retainer plates in order for the new meter mechanisms to fit in the meter housing. The new meters are solar-powered and programmable and will accept credit, debit and pre-paid parking cards in addition to dollar coins, dimes and quarters. Meters take Visa and Mastercard but users must buy a minimum of one hour of parking for $1.

The whole transaction, from inserting a card to picking the time—the meters display both cost and time given—to authorizing the transaction takes 30 seconds to a minute.

The city maintains about 2,300 parking meters downtown. The new meters will be installed generally in the area bounded by 7th, 16th, “M” and “R” streets. New meters also will be installed in the Haymarket lot north of “O” street and on 14th and “W” streets on the UNL campus. Some of the meters will be multi-space meters.

Beginning Monday, March 11, the hourly rate at all downtown meters will increase from 50 cents to $1, the first meter rate increase since 1995. The rates at meters are six minutes for a dime, 15 for a quarter and an hour for $1. After the rate change, City-owned parking garages with the first hour free and $1/hour after that will be the cheapest downtown parking option.

“The goal is to make the most convenient space available for short-term parkers and have high turnover in those spaces,” former parking manager Ken Smith said when the city purchased the meters. “We want longer-term parkers to move to the garage, which will be cheaper with the first hour free and a dollar an hour after that.”

The new Liberty brand meters from Duncan Solutions cost about $500 each and another $6,000 for management and training. The expense is covered through the City parking fund, and no General Fund tax dollars are being used. The City Council approved the new meters and the rate increase as part of the budget process.

For more information on downtown parking, call Parking Services at 402-441-PARK (7275), visit or follow @LincolnParking on twitter.

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