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May 2022 NEWFOUNDLAKELIFE.COM Page 11 Community
Parking Changes in Downtown Plymouth Bring 21st Century Technology Conveniences to the Community
 By Donna RhoDes
Parking rates in downtown Plymouth may be a bit higher now but the good news is, it’s also more convenient to pay at the meters with the introduction of the PayMobile app, a service that allows people to pay via their mobile devices rather than hunting for change in their car.
Plymouth Deputy Police Chief Nate Buffington said the hike to $1 per hour of parking actually began on Nov. 1, 2021 when after several public hear- ings, selectmen approved the rate hike. In fact, the increase was long overdue, as parking rates in Plymouth have remained the same for 30 years.
“It’s actually the same, if not more, to park in other places like Concord or Manchester,” Buff- ington pointed out. “The large jump now is only because it was increased all at once instead of five cents or so every few years.”
Once the increase was ap- proved, the town had to wait sev- eral months for new inserts for the meters arrived. It was in early April that Buffington and Chief Alex Hutchins were finally able to start the installation process
for the existing meters around the town common, Highland, Green, Merrill and Langdon Streets.
Things weren’t as smooth as they hoped at first however. Sev- eral people were under the im- pression that at the new $1 per hour rate they could put one or two quarters in the slot when they stopped to pick up coffee or run in to any of the local downtown businesses for just a few minutes. The inserts in the meters how- ever were not programmed to register anything but the dollar per hour rate.
Hearing the dilemma, Hutchins and Buffington went back out to adjust the machines to accept quarters (no dimes or nickels) for every fifteen minutes. This also made things easy again for those who don’t use mobile devices.
With the ParkMobile app though, people can follow the instructions on the meter to pay for whatever amount of time they need. Should they select one hour but find themselves spend- ing a little more time in town then planned, they can simply go to the app and add time without
Parking meters in downtown Plymouth have been increased to $1 per hour but have the added convenience of paying through a cell phone or other mobile de- vice as well as quarters for lesser amounts of time. Photo by Donna Rhodes
having to run out to put more change in the meter.
Regardless of which method is used to pay, there is still a limit of two hours for downtown parking however. That includes spaces along the common and many of the meters on Green Street that are not marked in red as restricted parking for business employees or other privately per- mitted slots.
“The employee parking has
actually worked out really well,” said Buffington. “With limited parking in downtown, we’re now able to get downtown em- ployees’ cars off the main streets while they’re at work.”
Along Langdon, Merrill and Highland Streets, parking is allowed for up to 10 hours for the convenience of day students and others attending classes or events at Plymouth State Col- lege. Buffington said that while the app comes with a 35-cent usage fee from the ParkMobile
service, the students, who seldom have change on hand but always have a phone available, don’t seem to mind the small fee for the convenience.
There is additionally a long- term parking lot on Green St., near the Bridge St. intersection. A kiosk there allows people to pay for the time they need through their mobile device, which can again be extended remotely and allows 24-hours or more of park- ing. An outdoor staircase behind the lot also provides convenient access to Main St. for shopping, events or dinner and a show that might exceed the two-hour downtown-parking limit.
Buffington said that as people adapt to the changes, Plymouth Police encourage them to call the station’s non-emergency line with any questions or concerns they may have.
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