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Inwood Leaders Explain New Muni-Meters to Residents

By Ben Fractenberg | August 1, 2011 7:22pm
A Muni-Meter in Inwood is written just in English.
A Muni-Meter in Inwood is written just in English.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

INWOOD —  Spurred by confusion about the city's new Muni-Meters among many Spanish-speaking drivers, Upper Manhattan community leaders held a walking tour in Inwood Monday to help explain how the new machines work.

"Nearly every day I've been hearing local residents who just aren't sure how the Muni-Meters work," said City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, whose district covers Inwood and Washington Heights.

Rodriguez walked along Dyckman Street between Broadway and Sherman Avenue Monday, handing out flyers explaining the new meters.

"Even thought these machines may have been around in downtown Manhattan, they're new to our community, so it doesn't seem right to hand out parking tickets if not everyone understands how they are expected to park," Rodriguez added.

Inwood drivers will have a five minute grace period from tickets if they need extra time to step away from their car to figure out the machine, Rodriguez said.

The Muni-Meters allow drivers to pay for parking via credit card, as well as dollars and coins, but require users to navigate a digital display, which could be difficult to understand for some non-English speakers.

The machines have six languages, but the permanent text on the front of the meters appears only in English.

"I find it kind of confusing and slow," said Mariana Tejada, 26, who was parking her car at the corner of Dyckman and Broadway. "Even with the credit card it's kind of confusing."

But not everyone was so down on the meters.

"It helps business," said Esther Brabo, who works at an accessory store on Dyckman. "People have more time to shop."

The meters also allow for 15 percent more vehicles to fit along the curb, according to Manhattan Borough Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Forgione.

Others applauded the sleek look of the machines.

"This is a long way form the hardcore, old fashioned metal meters," said Democratic State Senator Adriano Espaillat, whose district includes Washington Heigts and Inwood.