Popular lot now charging for parking, new method

By Eric Nyberg

After a period of time without a functional payment system, the City of Champaign will install new pay stations for Parking Lot J at the corner of Sixth and Green streets.

The new equipment, which will allow users to pay for parking with coins, cash and credit or debit card, was to be installed March 31, according to a city press release. As of Tuesday, the old pay stations still stood.

Parking Services Supervisor Shirl Johnson said the new pay stations will allow users to pay for nine hours at a time, which would be ideal for guests.

She said it would remove the need for visiting professors or families to continually feed parking meters.

Parking in Lot J, which had been free for the first two hours since December 2006 due to a vending problem with the pay stations, has returned to a rate of 75 cents per hour for the first two hours, and $1.50 for every additional hour. Failure to pay for parking will result in a $20.00 ticket.

Ray Theron, senior at Urbana High School, said he works across the street at Cold Stone Creamery and parks in Lot J every day.

“Previously this has been free,” said Theron. “Now it’ll be a hassle if I have to pay. I’m not going to use my credit card.”

According to the press release, parking enforcement staff will be available to assist customers and answer questions about the system during an initial transition period.

Johnson estimated the “transition period” to last for about a week after the upgrade.

“(If) the parking is free, people stay,” Johnson said, adding that people have stayed past the two hour limit without paying. “Now that they have to pay, they’ll think twice about how long to use a parking spot.”