Transition to Smart Parking in Brattleboro

 Brattleboro is transitioning to a new Smart Parking system. 

Brattleboro is adding new convenience features to the parking system in response to the expressed wishes of the public. The number one concern raised last year during the Parking Survey was the need to accept credit and debit cards. The work to initiate this transition begins next week on January 22, 2019. Once the transition is complete this new equipment will allow the public to pay for parking in Brattleboro using a credit/debit card, using an app on their Smartphone, and even with traditional coinage. 

All on-street single space meters (Such as those on Main Street or High Street, etc.) will be swapped out beginning on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. The transition is expected to take three days and to conclude at the end of the day on Thursday, January 24, 2019. We are not asking the public to change their parking behavior in any way during this transition, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this transition presents. 

On Street Meters 1/22 – 1/24 

The kiosks in the surface parking lots will be replaced with new Smart Parking kiosks beginning on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. This transition is also expected to take three days and will conclude at the end of the day on Thursday, January 31, 2019. There will be no charge for parking in a surface lot on the day that work is being performed in that particular lot. Lot specific signage will notify the public that work is being performed on that day and in that lot. Again, we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this transition will present to the public. 

Pay & Display Kiosks 1/29 – 1/31 

In addition, for those that would like to pay for parking using an app on their smartphone, that option will also be available. Users can download the Park Smarter App from Google Play or the IOS App Store. 

With this transition, Brattleboro is phasing out Smart Cards. If you have a Smart Card and would like a refund for the remaining value, please visit the Parking Enforcement Office at 77 Flat Street. For additional information, please visit All questions and concerns can be directed to Assistant Town Manager Patrick Moreland at 802-251-8101. 

Comments | 6

  • But...

    The transition to Smart Drivers, however, is delayed indefinitely…. (rimshot)


    It should be remembered that this all comes with a rate increase. The desire to use credit cards and apps means more expensive parking for everyone, including those who don’t use credit cards or apps for this sort of thing. Lo-tech folks help subsidize others in this system.

  • web site

    Here’s Park Smarter’s web site:

    Their privacy policy actually sounds good, they are offering the EU’s GDPR protections to all their customers. This means for example that you can ask to see any data they have about you and can ask that they delete all data they have related to you.
    They do charge a fee on top of the parking charges, though they don’t say what that fee is.
    One data item they may collect for some services is location. They don’t say if that just means they know the location of the meter or whether the app collects GPS data.
    The app says “just park and walk away as you pay” however in order to know which space you are in some locations will require you to enter a parking space number or to scan a QR code. Perhaps in the parking garage you could just “park and walk away”, though in that case they may need to get location from GPS to know that you entered the garage and then walked away from it (i.e., they’d have to collect GPS before and after you parked, otherwise they can’t actually tell you parked in the garage rather than parked across the street.) So I’d be suspicious that “park and walk away” always works correctly, but the rest of the service sounds reasonable. Maybe “park and walk away” uses Bluetooth? But how would it know which meter you parked in front of? Maybe it’s a service that is only available in some places where they have additional sensors installed (e.g., cameras that can see your license plate).
    The reviews of the app are not so great, 2.5 out of 5, with more negative than positive reviews. The app doesn’t seem to work at all in a lot of cases or doesn’t have some features enabled. It doesn’t seem to be very convenient either, you have to unlock your phone, run the app, scan a QR code on the meter or enter a number or choose from a list of meters discovered using Bluetooth (which means you also have to turn Bluetooth on, which many people keep off), then possibly enter a password, and then hope everything works. Oh, and your phone will need an internet connection at the same time. Which may not always work inside the parking garage? Seems like using a card would be much easier most of the time. I wonder if the meters accept prepaid debit cards. That might be an option for lo-tech folks.
    As nifty as wireless and network tech is, it still is fairly primitive in a lot of ways. There needs to be more thought into making things seamless, low power, and easy to use, while preserving privacy and enforcing security. Maybe the new satellite internet services that are about to cover the world will get us there.

    • Debit

      I’m pretty sure they said it would accept debit cards, so a prepaid card should work. (My guess).

      I plan to continue to use prepaid nickels and dimes, and to continue to use my personal patented system for almost-free parking in Brattleboro. (knowledge of available spaces, free spaces, employee numbers, time it takes to do things, etc.)

      I have to laugh, though, about the “convenience” of using an app or credit card. It’s not easier than using real money. It takes more steps, costs more, has extra fees attached, and so on. Basically, folks demanded a more expensive system that takes more effort to use, and the Town was happy to provide it. Weird.

  • About the town's parking system

    Off the topic of smart meters, but relevant to Brattleboro’s parking system:

    I have never seen an accounting to show whether the parking garage has been a net income producer for the town, or if the rest of the town’s parking meters have been subsiding the garage?

    Perhaps a lot of ibrattleboro readers were not around before the garage was built, but at that time in order to promote the bond vote: Selectboard members made rosy economic claims, and were not adverse to insult and intimidate citizens who spoke out to challenge those claims.

    After the garage had been operating for a few years: Conversing over coffee with one of the Selectboard members who had promoted the garage, I asked him whether the cash flow was as predicted. It was a polite conversation but his answer had little substance. He assured me that it was all working well, but it was an assertion for which he provided no facts or figures and frankly he did not seem to know.

    This individual and other members of the Board at that time had clear conflicts of interest in that the Board was dominated by business men whose enterprises profited from their decisions.

    We have never had an accounting which would show whether the money spent benefited a minority of relatively wealthy people, or if the cost borne by the taxpayers produced an overall benefit to the entire town, or not.

    • Use the LOST for promotion, not Rooms & Meals

      I recall that sometime in the last year it was mentioned at a SB meeting that the Parking Garage is almost paid off, and that soon the money used to pay for it can be applied to other areas of the parking system. Like repairing the Parking Garage…. : )


      How projects are presented and how they turn out are often a bit at odds, especially when it is an “income producer” or tax revenue. Rooms & Meals are public funds supposed to help offset high property taxes (as presented), but as we know, some would like to now divert that revenue into private hands for promotion (what really happens).

      I’d suggest a big grain of salt and some caution regarding the idea of a new Local Option Sales Tax. It will offset high property taxes! (proposed), but a few years from now, it might not be (what really happens).

      Here’s an idea – propose the LOST as a way to bring in discretionary income – so the Rooms & Meals can remain as is. The new tax could be presented honestly as a source of funds for businesses and artists and whatever people think up. Reject the idea of using Rooms & Meals for promotion, and have them request it from the LOST.

  • Almost paid off?

    Supposed the garage is almost paid off: Does that mean it has been a net revenue producer which will have paid for itself, or does it mean that it has been bleeding revenue from the rest of the parking system all these years?

    After the Brattleboro representative town meeting rejected a bond for the parking garage, the proponents brought it before a binding voter referendum. It was voted down again. They then reintroduced the referendum and this time after an intense and dishonest propaganda campaign, it finally passed.

    In discussing the Public Option Sales Tax, Chris Grotke alludes to a really important question: Whether public money should be used to promote private businesses, or in a manner generally more beneficial to townspeople.

    The Reformer ran AP article (about 30 years ago) about conflicts of interest in Vermont municipalities. The gist of the article was that in small cities and towns it is impossible to avoid conflicts of interest entirely. For example, regardless of which street a selectboard member lives on, that member will be impacted by how money is allocated for road maintenance.

    Obviously a town cannot function if every decision maker were to recluse themselves for each issue that would personally affect them. The article concluded that conflicts of interest rules which are too specific just won’t work because each situation is unique, so that the best we can do is to trust each selectboard member to decide whether a particular issue impacts them so directly that they should voluntarily recluse themselves.

    The key word here is, “trust.” Most reasonable people of good will can be trusted. There are very few people who knowingly would violate the public trust. But as fallible human beings we are each capable of deluding ourselves.

    For example: A former chairman of the Brattleboro Selectboard was asked at a public meeting if he would recluse himself from a vote to allocate funds to help downtown businesses, since he is a Main Street merchant. His answer was astounding: He said that his wife owns the store, not him, and therefore he has no conflict of interest.

    Back to the garage bond:

    Ideally we might like to believe that we argue the merits of a public issue: You win some, you lose some, no hard feelings. I have to admit strong personal feelings about the way the parking garage bond was pushed through because of the unbelievable disrespect with which the then Selectboard chairman openly insulted Charlie Slate and his neighbor, Carl Anderson, when they spoke during public participation.

    The silent complicity of the other 4 Board members was a stain on the integrity of the entire Board. In Vermont, even a “public figure” is our neighbor, whom we know, face-to-face. So when I see a public official publicly insults a someone, I have to wonder whether they understand that you just don’t do that in Vermont, or if they think they are still living in Chicago?

    The promotion of the garage was not the last example of a toxic public process in our town. Regardless of the supposed efficacy of a particular decision, I think that a toxic process harms all of us.

    Today we seem to have a Selectboard which acts intelligently and conducts itself well and a very competent and caring town manager and staff. I hope that we as voters stay vigilant.

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