Parking in downtown Bethesda should soon be easier.
Work began this week to replace all 840 of the area’s on-street parking meters with "smart" technology that allows for credit card payment, eliminating the need to dig for change.
The meters should be installed within a week, weather permitting, reports WTOP. Only the tops of the meters will be replaced, as the poles and the lower part of the meter head will remain.
The meters will accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards, and they will continue to accept coins and pay-by-cell phone. According to Montgomery County representatives, the highest level of security will be used for credit card processing.
The smart meters will also allow for real-time communication to help identify broken meters more quickly.
The work is the result of a successful pilot project using 41 smart meters conducted by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. Eventually, the county expects to replace the meters in Silver Spring, Wheaton and Montgomery Hills, as well.
The smart meters will soon be linked to in-pavement sensors to help drivers find unoccupied spots. "Later this year, residents will be able to use an app to find available street parking spaces and that is a real concern here in Bethesda," Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said.