NEW coronavirus safety measures have been installed at one of Leicester’s busiest city centre multi-storey car parks to enable staff and customers in time for its reopening on June 1.
Across Leicester, city council-run car park services are due to return to normal service from Monday.
Many on-street spaces had been free to use to enable workers who relied on them during the lockdown, and will continue to be free for NHS and care workers, although the normal charges will now be operation for other users.
Newarke Street Car Park, which has been closed since March, will reopen with new features in place so motorists to maintain social distancing and avoid unnecessary cash handling or queueing while using it.
Drivers are being encouraged to register in advance for an automatic payment system in operation at Newarke Street, which removes the need for them to queue or handle any payment machine, cash or tickets.
The new AutoPay system installed by Leicester City Council allows drivers to complete a one-time sign-up process, which can be done from the comfort of their own homes.
These drivers are then able to drive in and out of enabled car parks, and their payment is made automatically without drivers doing, or touching, anything to pay for their parking session.
People can register now for the payment method online, by visiting www.leicester.gov.uk/autopay
Physical measures are also being put in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff at the 470-space car park, including markings on the floors at payment machines to ensure customers don’t stand too close to each other. All four pay stations also accept contactless payment.
Protective screening is in place at the ground floor payment office and a rigorous cleaning regime will be carried out throughout the day.
Work is also being done to ensure any queues are properly managed, with measures put in place to ensure social distancing can be observed on stairwells and in lifts.
Leicester deputy city mayor for environment and transportation, Cllr Adam Clarke said: “With the gradual lifting of the lockdown conditions and more businesses reopening across the city, we’ve taken the decision to restart our normal car parking operations across the city to provide safe, secure parking is available to anyone who needs it.
“As part of that, new measures will be in place to help customers and staff at Newarke Street Car Park. The AutoPay system means drivers won’t have to get out of their cars or make any payments at all onsite. Registering a vehicle online is straightforward, and once it is done, that vehicle can come and go freely, with any payments automatically made.
“Safety measures such as protective screens, PPE for staff on site and stepping up the cleaning rota at the car park will all help ensure we make the car park as safe as it can be for all users.
“We would still encourage people to make use of other forms of more sustainable transport where possible, such as walking or cycling. But where people have no alternative but to rely on making car journeys, we want to ensure that convenient, accessible parking is available.”
Newarke Street car park underwent a £170,000 revamp last year, with new lighting, introduction of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and improvements to the pay stations, which now enable the current upgrades to be incorporated.