BERRYVILLE — Town officials plan to look into ways that would enable people lacking coins to park along downtown streets.
Most parking spaces in the central business district are metered. Coins must be inserted into the meters to pay for certain amounts of parking time.
But "some people don't carry coins with them anymore," said Police Chief Neal White. "Some people don't even carry cash."
He doesn't want anyone to be discouraged from visiting downtown stores and restaurants if they don't have coins to feed the meter.
"For a downtown area to be vibrant, it needs consumers," White said.
So Berryville Town Council's Streets & Utilities Committee has asked town officials to explore options such as online apps that enable people to make parking payments.
Winchester, for instance, uses the ParkMobile app that that enables people to pay for parking using their cellphone.
White said he would like to see if there are any systems that can work with existing meter heads downtown. The current heads were installed five or six years ago, he said, and buying new ones could be costly.
Meters around the post office, banks and pharmacies in Berryville are limited to 15 minutes, before more coins must be inserted, because they are busy locations. However, meters at other locations downtown allow drivers to insert enough coins to permit longer parking times.
White didn't recall exactly how much parking time a nickle, dime or quarter will allow.
From Thanksgiving weekend through the end of the year, downtown meters will be covered as part of Berryville's annual holiday parking meter contest. Meters cannot be used then, so the town will suspend paid parking for the period.
"It definitely would be nice for people to be able to pay (for parking) by credit card or a wireless (electronic) service," White said.