They would take credit cards, dollar bills, run off solar energy, and would reduce the clutter of the metal parking meters: In short, the new digital parking kiosks were to be just short of godsends for downtown Beaufort's parking.
But, as though we need to be reminded, folks couldn't find the kiosks, couldn't use them, didn't realize "two hours" meant the time limit and not free parking, or they just didn't even see the parking numbers.
They've been just short of a disaster.
There were even fears that the digital stands on Bay Street not only hurt the appeal of shopping but could jeopardize our area's historic certification.
And so, at yesterday's Beaufort City Council meeting Lanier Parking Solutions recommended either removing or doubling the parking kiosks on Bay.
The Beaufort Gazette has a solid report about the proposed changes and how it awaits council's decision -- that said, the paper doesn't have the story online, you'll have to go find a dead tree edition to get the story. We'll update here if they do post it online.
One has to wonder on the thought of doubling the meters on Bay as a fix, would a double down on a failure make any sense with a string of failures so broad?
And the failure is doubly shocking as Lanier manages services in 40 cities. More so, we could have looked to the experiences of Savannah for guidance on their experiences using parking kiosks and why the use them in some areas and not all.
Either way, the taxpayers and tourists are on the hook for the debacle.
Update, 4 p.m.: If your interest is piqued, check out these notes from a November meeting.
Update, December 9: The paper has posted the story online.
Update, December 9, part 2: The Beaufort Tribune has posted a full copy of Lanier's recommendations.