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There's A New Parking Sheriff In Town

One of the City of Atlanta-owned parking lots now managed by SP Plus at 170 Carnegie Way

Five-minute grace periods and a way to appeal parking tickets will be among the changes at many of Atlanta's metered parking lots now under new management.

Chicago-based SP Plus has officially taken over the management of the 2,400 city-owned surface parking spaces, including lots at 123 Marietta St. and 127 Andrew Young International, near the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel in downtown, as well as an assortment of streetside metered spaces.

The deal comes after the city awarded SP the contract at the end of last year and booted its former parking management company, PARKAtlanta. PARKAtlanta had been riddled with customer complaints of alleged unfair ticketing tactics during its tenure, enough to garner some negative attention.

City spokesperson Jewanna Gaither said SP will have a number of requirements for better customer service, including giving people a five-minute grace period when a meter expires before ticketing and establishing an appeals process to argue a ticket. And SP will also roll out further enhancements, including paying for parking by app on a smartphone. The city expects to detail these changes in an upcoming press conference, she said.

“And that's just one of the many things we're going to highlight,” Gaither said.

The new contract was a topic of conversation during SP's quarterly stock analyst call recently as well.

“We're cast with using technology to improve customer service as well as provide a pathway for Atlanta to become the South's leading smart city,” said CEO Marc Baumann during the call on Wednedsay. “There were a number of performance issues with the prior vendor that they were using to provide those services, and a lot of stuff in the press [where] people weren't happy, particularly around the technology and ease of using it to make payments.”