A smart phone app that can warn you when your parking meter is about to run out, then lets you pay from that app, is expanding to Belmont Shore.
Called Passport Parking, the app has been in use in other parts of Long Beach for about two years, according to Lea Eriksen, director of the city's Technology and Innovation Department. The expansion to the Shore was promoted by the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Advisory Commission, President Matt Peterson said.
"It (the app) allows you to pay, and to reload the meter," Peterson said. "The meter gives you an alert when it's about to run out, too. It's just a matter of ease of transaction."
The new smart parking meters installed citywide have had the capability to communicate with the app since they have been installed. That includes the "gang" meters covering multiple spaces in parking lots or along the street.
"We have seen this program be fairly successful in all the locations we have rolled it out to," Jennifer Carey, Public Works community relations officer, said in an email. "We do not have any immediate plans for further expansion, but are looking for other ideal areas for the program."
The app is available at the Apple App store and the Google Play store.
Peterson said adding the smart phone app in Belmont Shore is part of efforts to bring shoppers and diners back to Second Street. The Parking Commission also is promoting the free 15 minutes parking the green button on meters allows, letting people get a cup of coffee or do a quick errand without paying for parking.
"It's all designed to make the Shore more customer-friendly," Peterson said. "Next we're going to start working on making some of the parklets permanent. They have really impacted the pedestrian traffic already."
Parklets are blocked off parking spaces primarily in front of restaurants, added to allow for more outside dining during the coronavirus pandemic. Peterson said some of those spaces could remain, with the permit fee making up for the lost parking meter revenue. That decision would have to be approved by the City Council.
"We think it would be for the overall benefit," Peterson said. "If you don't innovate, you will go down. The parklets add to the environment, and the foot traffic."
Meter rates in Belmont Shore are scheduled to increase by 25¢ an hour next week, April 7. That puts meter rates at $1 an hour, the rate on meters in much of the rest of the city.