FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.. (KNWA/KFTA) — The city of Fayetteville has made changes to parking in the downtown business district including modernizing payment methods. The city says it will make the process easier for residents and visitors.

According to a news release from the city, the 250 on-street parking meters in the district, which previously only accepted coins, have been replaced with “smart” meters that accept payment via credit cards, the ParkMobile app, and contactless payment methods.

Drivers will also have the option to pay with coins.

The release says many of the smart meters have sensors that identify the exact moment a car is parked in a space.

City officials say the sensors will provide real-time parking availability data and allow for grace periods during which parking rates will not be required for downtown customers during shorter parking sessions.

“The sensors allow for a friendlier approach to parking enforcement,” said Justin Clay, parking management director for the city. “Also, it gives the ability to relay real-time parking availability via the mobile app.”

On-street meters are either short-term with a two-hour limit, or long-term with no time limit. An updated parking map for the downtown business district has been added to the City’s Parking Management Department webpage.

Parking around the Downtown Square and Gardens is still free for no more than two hours in a four-hour period, according to the release.

The five municipal surface parking lots in the downtown district, which previously had 275 single-space coin meters, now feature pay stations for each lot that use a pay-by-license plate method.

The city says the pay-by-plate method allows for the same grace period options as the on-street sensors, and it allows city staff to enforce permits by license plate, removing the need and costs associated with physical permits.

With the addition of payment stations, Clay said accessibility will be improved by the removal of single-space meters along sidewalks that are adjacent to parking lots.

The release says to cover the operational software costs associated with the new equipment, the city council approved Resolution 6475 in 2021, changing on-street rates from 25 cents per hour to 50 per hour and surface lot rates from 15 cents per hour to 25 cents per hour.

More information on parking can be found here.