On Wednesday, June 24, the gate arms system will go live in the Eighth and Walnut (Plaza), 17 N. Eighth St., and 10th and Cherry, 1000 Cherry St., parking garages at 8 a.m.
The new gate arms system, approved by Columbia City Council in October 2017 for all City parking garages, will allow for a more intuitive, consistent and streamlined process for customers through the implementation of a new flat-rate fee structure and the ability to pay upon exit, rather than immediately after parking. Further, more payment options, such as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and credit and debit card payment will now be available. The process of parking will be consistent among all City parking garages allowing for ease of use. The gate arms will also allow Parking Utility staff to obtain data, such as how many users each garage has, the times of day that are busiest and how long customers are parking for. This data will allow Parking Utility to determine future business operations.
Implementation for the remaining garages is tentatively scheduled in two-week intervals to allow for Parking Utility staff to be on-site for assistance and possible troubleshooting. Dates for the remaining parking garages will be shared with the community as they are confirmed.
The rates in all garages will be $1 per two hours with the first hour being free. The maximum daily amount is $5. Per ordinance, hourly parkers may not park in a City parking garage for over 72 hours or they may be subject to tow.
With the new system, customers can either pay at a walk-up machine or directly at the exit. Customers may pay at the exit machines with a credit or debit card, CoMo Park Card, Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. Cash is accepted only at walk-up machines, not at the exit machines. Exact change is required at the walk-up machines, as they cannot provide change. While Parkmobile will no longer be accepted at the garages, it will continue to be an option for on-street meters.
New occupancy signs are installed at the entrance of each garage. These signs will let customers know whether hourly parking is available, or if it is full and only permit parking is allowed. Upon first pulling into the garage, the gate arm will be lowered. Once a customer presses the button and pulls a ticket, the gate arm will rise. Hourly parkers may still only park in designated spots marked "hourly." When leaving the garage, customers may either pay at a walk-up machine or at the exit. At a walk-up machine, customers must scan their ticket for the machine to determine the total amount due. Once they pay using their preferred payment method, customers will have 15 minutes to exit the garage. Customers must have exact change when paying cash, as the machines do not provide change. Customers should keep the ticket pulled at the entry machine and scan it at the exit machine for the gate arm to rise.
If paying directly at the exit machine, customers may pull up to the exit machine, scan their ticket, pay the amount due using their preferred payment method and exit the garage once the gate arm rises. While the exit machines do not accept cash, customers may pay with exact change at a walk-up machine.
Enforcement for all City of Columbia Parking Garages is Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking outside of these hours is free, including all day Saturday and Sunday.