Exclusive: Timeline for Jackson’s parking meter overhaul revealed

City’s tech-savvy transportation system to debut as Fondren pilot program next year

Exclusive: Timeline for Jackson’s parking meter overhaul revealed
This set of antiquated parking meters along Capitol Street in downtown Jackson may soon be replaced with tech-savvy meters that allow for credit card payments, smartphone functionality, and even public wifi. (Source: WLBT)

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - By the end of next year, Jackson city leaders hope a new transportation system encouraging pedestrian-friendly spaces, bike paths and modern parking meters will draw more people into the Capital City.

To do that, the city’s chief administrative officer, Robert Blaine, has tentatively planned a parking meter pilot project in Fondren by the end of February 2019.

“We’ll look at this pilot and try to gain a lot of data from citizens, what they like best so we can be thoughtful about how we scale [the project] across the city," Blaine said.

Earlier this year, a 3 On Your Side investigation estimated just how much Jackson loses as a result of the current meters, many of which malfunction on a daily basis.

Blaine believes the parking meter overhaul will be part of a much larger initiative called the One-Line Plan, the city’s first multimodal transportation system, encompassing bike share, car share, bike lanes, and even public wifi at transportation stations.

“We’ll be rolling out the first phases of that in March with the bike share program, and bike lanes connected to bike trails throughout the city.” Blaine said. “By the end of the year, we should have the entire multimodal transportation plan as well as free wifi in various stations.”

Over the last month, Blaine said the city has met with various groups which demonstrated how they plan to achieve this vision.

“We’ll put out an RFP (request for proposals) by the first of October and give companies a month to respond,” Blaine said.

The tech-savvy upgrades will utilize Jackson’s fiber optic network, which was installed several years ago.

That network runs from Jackson State University through downtown and extends to Fondren.

Copyright 2018 WLBT. All rights reserved.