In the News

Morristown Parking Authority Introduces New Solar-Powered Meters

MORRISTOWN, N.J. - New meters being installed in Morristown's central business district starting Oct. 20 will make parking easier when shopping, dining, visiting or doing business in Morristown.

The state-of-the-art meters run on solar power, accept credit cards as well as change, and make it easy for parkers to select how much time they'll need, said Margret Brady, chairperson of the Morristown Parking Authority's Board of Commissioners. The meters also allow the authority to learn more about meter usage and do some maintenance remotely.

“We're always looking for ways to make it easier for residents and visitors to enjoy the shopping, restaurants and cultural events in Morristown,” said Ms. Brady. “These new meters are another step toward applying new technology to parking.”

The new meters also mark an increase in the parking fees. Parkers will pay $1 an hour at the new meters and 75 cents an hour at older meters outside the central business district. It's the first increase since 1998, when a first-class stamp was only 32 cents and a Big Mac cost $2.50. Today, those items cost 49 cents and $4.79, respectively.

Morristown's parking rates are comparable to other communities in New Jersey, such as Summit, New Brunswick, Hoboken, Newark, Paterson and Princeton.

“Operational expenses have gone up,” said Mark Axelrod, assistant director of the Morristown Parking Authority. “We've been able to hold the line for 17 years.”

The 430 new meters offer a variety of advantages and efficiencies. Parkers will have a choice of inserting coins or their credit card to pay for parking. Those choosing to use a credit card can purchase a minimum of an hour of parking and pay for it over a secure connection similar to those at other credit card terminals.

“Meters will still accept coins, just as they always have,” said Axelrod. “The ability to use a charge card, though, makes it a lot easier to pay. You don't need a purse or pocket full of quarters. No more finding the perfect parking spot and discovering you don't have change.”

For those just “running into” a store, however, parkers can still use a nickel to buy three minutes of parking time, a dime to get six minutes, or a quarter for 15 minutes.

Installation of the new meters should be completed within a week.

“There's so much to do in Morristown, and there are many new shops and restaurants opening in town,” said Michael Fabrizio, executive director of the Morristown Partnership. “These credit card-capable meters will make parking easier and more convenient for shoppers and visitors coming to the central business district.”

There are other advantages that might not be so obvious. The new meters are solar powered, unlike the current meters which require batteries. That means less maintenance and fewer meters that might not work because the batteries have run down.

While the new meters do have back-up batteries, it's expected that they'll need to be replaced less often, reducing the number of batteries sent to landfills.

Axelrod said data about parking can be collected from the meters, although he emphasized that the meters collect no individual data. The new meters also set the stage for future technology, such as phone apps and “tap” technology. In addition, the office also can monitor the operation of each meter from its centralized data management system.

The meters are the fourth generation to serve the people of Morristown. The first meters, placed in service in the 1950s, accepted coins and had no timing mechanism. They were replaced in the 1960s with mechanical meters that required parkers to turn a crank. In the early 1990s, those meters were replaced with the electric meters now in service.

Founded in 1956, the Morristown Parking Authority is an independent body that is responsible for the operation, maintenance and management of on-street, lot and garage parking in Morristown. The authority is independently funded and has never been subsidized by the town or any other entity. Parking fees are reinvested in parking facilities. The authority receives no money from parking tickets. Fines go directly to the town, county and state.

Residents, business owners or parkers with questions about the new solar meters can call the Morristown Parking Authority at (973) 539-4810.