Downtown garages get automated, but will still be staffed

Garage at Cumberland and Church (Google Maps)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Charleston County has begun upgrading their downtown parking garages.Parking customers might be delayed coming in or out of the garages but county officials say staff will be on hand to help minimize the delays.

The upgrades will only be happening at the two garages run by Charleston County located at the intersection of King and Queen streets and Cumberland and Church streetsImprovements include new ticket dispensers and new signs. The cashier booths are also being replaced with ticket acceptors a the exits.Customers will also be able to see how many spaces are available in the King and Queen Garage for each level of the garage.One major change is how you will pay to park. "Pay on Foot" stations will be set up in a central location so you can pay before you get back into your car. Once you pay, you'll have 15 minutes to get into your car and turn in your paid ticket stub before getting charged again.Officials believe exiting the garage will be a lot faster since you're not waiting for people to pay on their way out.The upgrades are estimated to be complete by March 5. While the machines will be taking over payments, no parking employees lost their jobs. According to county officials, the cashiers will be utilized in other aspects of customer service and the garages will still be manned by security and staff 24 hours a day.If anyone has any questions, you can call the Cumberland Parking office at 843-724-6786 during their normal business hours of 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon-Fri.