City explains reason behind bagged meters downtown

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COLUMBIA - Finding a parking spot downtown was already hard enough, but now there are bags on several meters that don’t allow drivers to park in many of the spots.

Columbia resident Becky Billings said she noticed many of the bagged meters and meters that just haven’t worked, which created fewer parking spots than there already was.

“I’ve had a few meters that haven’t worked, and I tried to call the number, and it’s after their business hours so I had to go find somewhere else to park and then there’s a bag on the meter,” Billings said.

Barry Dalton is the public communications specialist for public works department for the city of Columbia. He said different colored bags have a different reason for why they are on the meters.

“The orange bags mean it may be out of service, but most of the bags you see are probably red and by city ordinance chapter 14, section 423 and 424. Construction companies, usually private contractors that are working for the city and other projects, businesses, churches, they can all rent parking spots," Dalton said.

People who have disabilities can also rent the parking meters. In order to rent them, businesses or people with disabilities must establish a need for the meter.

Dalton said construction companies, due to their large vehicles and big machinery, rent most of the meters.