Parking meter improvements on the way in Bradenton

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The City of Bradenton is looking to make parking easier downtown. Based on the success in other cities, Bradenton officials plan to update the 12th Avenue parking garage. The only problem? It could cost you more.

In downtown Bradenton, free parking is limited. The downtown parking garage on 12th Avenue is convenient for many trying to find a space, but paying for their spot hasn't always been.

"There's been times when I've been in a hurry to get into the courtroom, and I've had to run to another pay station after the first pay station was broken," says one Bradenton driver.

"I have attorneys come in all day. They don't have cash. They don't have quarters and dollars. They want to use a credit card or a debit card or have some sort of app on their phone," says another driver.

That has prompted the city to replace the nearly 9-year-old cash & coin-only pay stations with new high-tech, easy to use stations. "That's the main goal, is to make it user friendly while of course we need to replace them, just because they're getting old and barely even usable," says Bradenton public information officer Tim McCann.

But it's going to come at a higher cost, possibly raising the price to a dollar per hour from 25 cents per half hour to cover the cost of the 30 cent surcharge when using a credit card.

Not only will the new pay stations let you use your credit card, it will also connect to your cell phone, alerting you when time is almost up. The technology allows the user to enter their cell phone number for reminders and even extend their parking time via text.

"I think that would be a great idea, being that I always have my cell phone on me. So if my time runs out, I can be notified."

The two new pay stations are costing the city about $30,000, which is budgeted in their parking fund. But the city council plans to still vote on cost per hour to park.

City officials say the two new pay stations are slated to be installed by the end of September and be up and running by the beginning of October.