Those parking in short-term lots in downtown New Canaan soon will be able to purchase and extend their time through a smartphone app.
Members of the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously during their regular meeting Tuesday for New Canaan to enter a five-year contract with PayByPhone.
As it is, those paying to park in lots such as Morse Court and Park Street must physically return to meter machines to add time. With the PayByPhone app, which already is in use at New Canaan Train Station lots, motorists can buy their tickets at the meter machine as usual (or using the app) and then extend their time remotely, officials said at the selectmen meeting.
“I expect very high usage,” Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg said at the meeting, held via videoconference.
“It was something that a lot of people, even pre-COVID, were asking for. Because a lot of the surrounding towns have this option available to park there. So it has been something that I have been requesting for a while, and I think that the usage will be extremely high, as it was at the train station. The majority of people are using it at the train station.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of entering the contract, pending a final review from town counsel.
Williams asked for the legal review to ensure that New Canaan can terminate the contract should the town switch to free parking—something he’s been advocating for since 2019.
Miltenberg noted that the contract requires monthly minimum fees of $250 total, across all PayByPhone-enabled lots, and that she expects consumer usage to cover it. The contract also calls for a transaction fee of 30 cents which will be paid by the consumer, Miltenberg said. Entering the contract will reduce the rate at the train station from 35 to 30 cents, she said.
To the concern that such fees are high for those only parking for a matter of one or two hours, Williams said, “People really do enjoy the convenience of being able to pay by phone even though it economically is not as preferable as the alternative.”
Corbet asked whether the Parking Bureau saw a large percentage change from those using credit cards at the pay machines in the train station lots when the PayByPhone option was made available there. Miltenberg said yes.
She noted that people, if they choose to, can still purchase their parking time initially at a meter machine.
The PayByPhone service “offers the convenience of them not having to run back to the lot if they wanted to stay longer,” Miltenberg said.
“They do it in the restaurant that they’re in or from the store that they’re in. So that convenience, to me, has been shared as very helpful. That’s what people share with me, to avoid getting a ticket.”
In addition to Morse Court and Park Street, short-term municipal lots in New Canaan include Playhouse and Locust Avenue.