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12 Things to know about downtown Helena’s Kiosk smart meters

When do the parking changes go into effect?

June was the soft opening month to test the new equipment and troubleshoot any problems. Staff did not issue citations pertaining to the new equipment until July.

Are there any areas downtown where I can park for free?

Yes! There is one hour of free parking, per day, available in lots 4, 8, 10 and both the 6th Avenue and Getchell garages. Nights, weekends and federal holidays are always free. Enforcement hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for parking map.

Can I use the 1-free hour of parking in Lot 4 and then another free hour in the lots or garages that offer free parking?

No. Only 1-free hour is granted per license plate, per day

What if I have to quickly run into a store to pick something up or drop something off?

Signs indicate where convenient 15 minute quick stop parking is available on each block.

Do I still need to enter my information in the kiosk if I am in a lot that offers 1-free hour of parking, but I will only be parked for one hour or less?

Yes. Entering your license plate information sends an indication to Parking Control Officers that you are using your 1-free hour and a ticket will not be issued.

How can I pay for parking when I go downtown?

Once installation is complete, all kiosks and smart meters will accept debit/credit cards, Helena Parking Goldie tokens, and U.S. $1 coins, quarters, dimes and nickels. A phone app will also be available in July for your parking convenience. Stay tuned!

Is it safe to use my credit/debit card with the new kiosks and meters?

Tier 1 security is utilized in all kiosks and smart meter transactions, ensuring your information is safe and confidential.

I work downtown- What are my options for parking during the week?

Staff sell a variety of downtown parking permits. Please contact the Parking Office and a representative will be happy to guide you in the right direction: 406-447-8419.

Do I need to put anything on my dashboard/windshield indicating that I paid to park for the day?

Staff will use license plate recognition software to identify the vehicles that have paid so paper vouchers on the dashboard are not necessary.

If I pay to park in one area of downtown can I utilize leftover time in a different part of downtown?

Once you pay at an on-street kiosk you may park anywhere on the streets that house other on-street kiosks until your time expires. This does not include metered areas or downtown lots. Remaining time does not roll over and cannot be utilized on another day.

What is the difference between a smart meter and a kiosk?

Smart meters manage single-space parking and a vehicle is relegated to that space once payment has been issued. Kiosks manage multiple-space parking and a vehicle is free to move about the streets if parking is paid at an on-street kiosk. If parking is paid in a lot, a vehicle must stay in that lot or purchased parking time is lost.

Is parking in a lot the same price as on the street?

No. Downtown parking lots are $1 per hour. The first 30 minutes is $.50 and every hour after is $1.00. Lots 4, 8, and 10 offer 1-free hour of parking per license plate per day.

For more information on the  “smart meters,” and parking around town, please visit https://www.helenamt.gov/hpc.htm

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