The parking lots at Big Corona Beach and near the Balboa Pier are about to get more tech-savvy.
The Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to install 23 automated pay kiosks and allow two enforcement vehicles equipped with license plate recognition technology at Big Corona Beach and near the Balboa Pier. In addition to the automated pay stations, beach visitors will also be able to buy the parking permits on their smartphones.
City officials say new fee schedules will also be implemented so visitors can pay hourly during the off-season instead of the daily $15 flat fee.
City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said the pay stations will likely result in several benefits.
"It's more inviting for people to go to the beach and actually park there. It would take them off of the residential streets, which the neighborhood would like," Gardner said. "And still generating some income during the period when we don't get anything from those parking lots."
Dan Matusiewicz, the city's finance director, said modernizing the two parking lots will improve operations and help identify cars that do not have a valid parking permit.
"We recognize technology won't replace direct customer service, but dedicated lot ambassadors will be more able to focus on controlling traffic, giving directions and restaurant suggestions rather than only focus on payment collections," Matusiewicz said.
According to a staff report, city officials say on a crowded day traffic often backs up from cars entering and exiting the Balboa Lot, and in Corona del Mar the single entry lane and single exit lane, create traffic choke points at the top of the hill at Ocean Boulevard.
Mayor Keith Curry said the automated pay stations are another important step forward in using technology smarter in the city to be more efficient.