Parking Downtown? A $3 card could keep you from having to find change

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The re-opening of Fulton Street in Downtown Fresno has brought with it a scramble for loose change to drop into parking meters.

Once you round up your money, you have to guess how long you'll be staying.

Put too much money in the meter and you won't get a refund. Put too little and you can find yourself running back to feed the meter, which can be a pain if you're enjoying yourself at a downtown event.

But the City of Fresno has a cash-free option that many people don't know about, a prepaid meter "Smartcard."

You can pick one up on the 4th floor of the Fresno City Hall.

They're $33: three bucks to sign up and you get a card loaded with $30 in parking meter credit, which is good for about 40 hours of meter time.

Assistant Planning Director Dan Zack explains how the card works, "There's a slot in all the parking meters so you just run this in and it ties it into your balance that you have set up."

Zach says thousands of downtown regulars have purchased cards since they became available in 2006 but thousands more don't know about an option which they would welcome.

With more people discovering what Downtown has to offer, the city is now looking into grants to get new "smart meters" which accept payment through credit cards or a smartphone app.

"As downtown gets busier, it's going to be nice to have those kinds of options," said Zach.
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