Winnipeg's cold snap freezes parking meters

It's not just people that are freezing in Winnipeg's sudden deep chill — a number of parking meters are so cold, they aren't working properly.

About 30 downtown parking pay stations are out of order, says official

Winnipeggers may soon have to pay to park at night along some downtown streets. (CBC)

It's not just people that are freezing in Winnipeg's sudden deep chill — a number of parking meters are so cold, they aren't working properly.

The city confirms that about 30 downtown parking kiosks were out of order at some point Friday, blaming the problem on a recent dump of snow followed by plunging temperatures this week.

The machines have undergone rigorous cold-weather testing and will normally operate in temperatures as cold as –35 C, according to Colin Stewart of the Winnipeg Parking Authority.

But when the temperature drops suddenly and there's a lot of moisture, the meters sometimes have trouble printing tickets, Stewart told CBC News..

"We've had a lot of humidity. What happens is some moisture forms on the receipt paper inside the machine," he said.

"The machine runs its self-diagnostic all the time and if it thinks it's not going to work, it takes itself offline."

The parking authority says anyone who finds a parking pay station that's out of order should look for another station nearby where they can pay for their parking.

But Stewart said drivers won't necessarily be penalized if they can't find a pay station that works.

"If it says 'out of order' and every pay station on the block says 'out of order,' our officers will not then issue tickets for not paying. However, they will still enforce the two-hour time restriction," he said.

All the affected parking pay stations should be working again by Monday, Stewart said.

A similar problem was noted when the City of Winnipeg brought in electronic pay kiosks in 2007, replacing coin-operated meters across the city.

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