The Missoula Parking Commission plans on getting rid of the old parking meters that line streets downtown. The meters have been there since 1947 and Missoula Parking Commission Director Anne Guest said they need to be replaced:

"We know we need a change," Guest said. "We have very, very old meters--some are 40 to 60 years old. We've taken care of the mechanisms inside, but they are really no longer functioning properly. We just need to upgrade them, and in order to upgrade them, we need to look. There's a lot of different options out there."

Two consultants will be in town Thursday at the Holiday Inn Downtown at 6 p.m. to explain some of the options to the public. One of the options is the use of a cell phone app.

"You could just sit in your car on a cold, rainy day, plug in your account, you would pay it by your cellphone, and you would never have to get out of your car," Guest said. "If you were out having a great lunch and you wanted to extend it, then the program would text you and say you have 15 minutes left on your time, and you could extend that by phone."

The total cost of the replacement, if paid in cash, will be around $1 million. Guest said there are lots of options on the table for the public to choose from, but getting rid of the parking meters altogether is not one of them.

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