LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - How you pay to park in La Crosse's parking ramps is changing, again.
There will soon be no more gates on parking ramps in downtown La Crosse.
Instead, users will enter their license plate number, and how long they plan to stay, when they enter the ramp.
At the Market Square Parking Ramp in downtown La Crosse Monday, the parking gates are gone.
"Instead of gates and pay stations, you come on in and find a place to park, and come on down to the pay stations,” said parking utility coordinator Jim Flottmeyer. “Put your time in, pay for it there."
Drivers will punch in their license plate number and the time they expect to stay in the ramp, at any number of pay stations located near the entrances.
"If you have a permit, you don't have to come down to the pay station, you just have to find a place to park,” Flottmeyer said.
Parking enforcement will then have the ability to check the license plates.
"The pay stations communicate via the cloud with the enforcement vehicles, so as it goes through and reads the plates, it knows which plates are supposed to be there and which ones aren't,” Flottmeyer said.
Drivers in the area are cautiously supportive of the new technology but remain skeptical.
"At the same time, I think it’s easier now to get into the ramp and stay there,” said Morgan Balfany, a frequent user of the ramps.
“Well it's new so the learning curve is a little steep,” Flottmeyer said. “The permit holders seem to like it at this point, because they can just go on it. They don’t' have to use their cards anymore, they just go find a place to park and go to work."
City officials said once the Market Square Ramp system is up and running, the other ramps will follow suit.
"We started with this one because it just seemed like the logical step, and then we'll go to the La Crosse Center ramp and the Main Street Ramp from here,” Flottmeyer said.
The new system will not change any hourly rates for parking during the week.
The new system is in effect from Monday at 4 a.m., until Friday at 9 p.m.
Officials expect the Main Street and La Crosse Center ramps will be using the new system in the next two weeks.
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