Gate Arms

The gate arms system are live in the Fifth and Walnut, Eighth and Walnut (Plaza), 10th and Cherry, Sixth and Cherry and Eighth and Cherry parking garages. The new gate arms system allows for more payment options and the ability to pay at either a walk-up machine or directly at the exit. 


**Cash is ONLY accepted at Walk-up Machines, NOT at the exit machines.
**Per ordinance, hourly parkers may not park in a City parking garage for over 72 hours or they may be subject to tow.


New occupancy signs have been 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. The exit machines do not accept cash.

Implementation Schedule

Scheduled go-live date
Eighth and Walnut (Plaza) Wednesday, June 24
10th and Cherry Wednesday, June 24 
Sixth and Cherry Wednesday, July 15
Eighth and Cherry Wednesday, August 12
Fifth and Walnut Wednesday, July 29
Short Street Wednesday, August 26

Permit Holders

Permit holders should ensure the hang tag is visible in the vehicle’s windshield. Drivers will need to slow down at the entry or exit arms and allow the gate arms system to recognize the hang tag after which the arm will rise automatically. There may be a brief one-second delay for this to occur, which means the motorist may have to come to a brief stop before the gate arms rise.

As the gate arms go live in each garage, a Hard Pass Back system will be implemented for all permit holders. Hard Pass Back means the gate arms system tracks the entry and exit of all permit holders sequentially. Therefore, permits cannot exit a garage without first entering and vice versa. Under this system, we highly discourage sharing permits with other users as the true permit holder may have to pay for parking when leaving the garage if the permit has already been used by someone else to leave the garage. 

In October 2017, the Columbia City Council approved the installation of a gate arms system for all six City parking garages. The new gate arms system will allow for a more intuitive, consistent and streamlined process for customers through the ability to pay upon exit instead of immediately after parking and with a new flat-rate fee structure. Further, more payment options, such as mobile pay and accepting credit and debit cards will now 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.

Locate the City’s parking garages.