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The Parking Meter Turns 75 Today

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the thanks-a@#hole dept.

Government 126

nj_peeps writes "75 years ago Carl Magee filed a patent application for what would become one of the most hated inventions in history: the parking meter. From the article: 'Magee's brainwave was to install a device that had a coin acceptor and a dial to engage a timing mechanism. A visible pointer and flag indicated the expiration of the paid period, meaning you either had to move, put in more money, or face the wrath of the local constabulary. The design continued largely unchanged for more than 40 years.'"

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So.. (3, Funny)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196304)

The Parking Meter: Haunting humankind for 75 years.

Re:So.. (1)

zeon (123577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196650)

75 is fairly old... maybe it will die soon.

Re:So.. (1)

JohannesJ (952576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200656)

In the news today: I'd rather be a toll Collector than a meter . They get Millions of dollars in unused sick time and benefits. Not a bad Job for somebody who only needs an IQ = their shoe size Huh? Not that these people necessarily have that IQ but they may, How much brains does it take to collect tolls ?

Hey parking meter... (1)

drc003 (738548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196330)

...F you buddy! I got a baseball bat with your name written all over it. Looks like you have 75 good swings headed your way, PUNK!

Yes, they piss me off (0, Flamebait)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196366)

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax on top of what you've already paid to park there.

That sounds great, doesn't it?

I'm assuming there was no vote when these things were put into play?

Re:Yes, they piss me off (3, Funny)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196610)

Write to your congressmen. Make them scrap those abominations!

To keep spaces open for customers (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196998)

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax

Do you use the same complaint against toll roads?

I'm assuming there was no vote when these things were put into play?

Imagine that you run a coffee shop. You want your customers to use the space in front of the shop while in the shop, and you don't want someone who works across the street to hog the space for 8 hours straight. So to keep the spaces open for customers, you restrict parking time to how long it takes to buy and consume coffee and a sandwich.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197120)

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax

Do you use the same complaint against toll roads?

Yes.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197204)

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax

Do you use the same complaint against toll roads?

Yes.

However, toll bridges in the bay area are mostly supported by the tolls, as the population decided to slowly lower the effective tax rate in the state. many decades ago.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32197804)

However, toll bridges in the bay area are mostly supported by the tolls...

Huh, and all this time i thought they were supported by pylons, towers, and cables. Fancy that...

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#32199440)

However, toll bridges in the bay area are mostly supported by the tolls...

Huh, and all this time i thought they were supported by pylons, towers, and cables. Fancy that...

Nope, unicorn farts.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (2, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197126)

Imagine that individual businesses had the power to set meter pricing and time limits... You would be on another planet, somewhere in a different solar system. The meters are there at the whim of the city. Properly used, they can be great tools. Misused or overused, and they can be a headache and a deterrent to regular customers.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198350)

Parking meter pricing is standardized throughout the city at a token amount, which is supposed to be just enough to prove that a vehicle hasn't been unattended for more than the set period. Time limits are related to the adjacent building's zoning.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197132)

Do you use the same complaint against toll roads?

Oh heck ya I do. I lived in Atlanta after they put in the 400 toll road. Allegedly, it was only going to be a toll-road for as long as it took to "pay off the cost of the construction". It was built in...I wanna say 1995? I know it was there for the 96 Olympics. I left Atlanta for Northern VA 3 years ago. I went back to visit ~3 months ago and the damned thing was still going strong.

Imagine that you run a coffee shop. You want your customers to use the space in front of the shop while in the shop, and you don't want someone who works across the street to hog the space for 8 hours straight. So to keep the spaces open for customers, you restrict parking time to how long it takes to buy and consume coffee and a sandwich.

Yes, because it should be your customer's problem that you can't plan your parking access better. I don't understand this mentality. (Not trying to offend, I just don't understand how something that is YOUR problem, ie, the coffee shop owner, suddenly becomes the customer's problem.)

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198344)

Allegedly, it was only going to be a toll-road for as long as it took to "pay off the cost of the construction". It was built in...I wanna say 1995?

My parents tell me the Tri-state tollway in Illinois (built in the 1950s) was sold the same way. It's still toll today.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201768)

My parents tell me the Tri-state tollway in Illinois (built in the 1950s) was sold the same way. It's still toll today.

That would be frustrating. If something is built with a toll system to pay for it, you should be able to call a number (or visit a website these days) and see how much is left to pay off.

The only other reason I could think that a toll is still levied is that it continues to pay for maintenance. In that way, the people who actually use (and wear down) the road are responsible for paying the upkeep.

Here in Oregon, the Astoria-Megler bridge connecting Oregon to Washington was a toll bridge for a long time. They finally removed the toll booths sometime in the 90's and made it free. You can still see marks where the booths were though.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198258)

Imagine that you run a coffee shop. You want your customers to use the space in front of the shop while in the shop, and you don't want someone who works across the street to hog the space for 8 hours straight. So to keep the spaces open for customers, you restrict parking time to how long it takes to buy and consume coffee and a sandwich.

Except that you can still hog that space for 8 hours, it's just going to cost you.

Instead of parking meters you put green zones in if the true intended effect is space turn over and not "revenue" generation.

Re:To keep spaces open for customers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198388)

Except that you can still hog that space for 8 hours, it's just going to cost you.

The hog still has to visit the space every few minutes to feed the meter. The time on the meter is capped at a reasonable amount of time to get in, order, eat, and get out, and any further minutes are forfeited.

Re:Yes, they piss me off (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197088)

The money derived from parking meters typically doesn't even pay for the cost of the meter-maids to enforce them. They are not a revenue source for the city, but rather a way to control how long people park in busy downtown areas.

Re:Yes, they piss me off (2, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197500)

The money collected from the meters may not amount to much, but the revenue from parking tickets for lapsed meters is spectacular.

Re:Yes, they piss me off (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200920)

The money collected from the meters may not amount to much, but the revenue from parking tickets for lapsed meters is spectacular.

Especially when the meters run fast (yes, Philadelphia, I mean you. If I put an hour in a meter and come back 58 minutes later and it says "expired", something crooked is going on. My watch isn't that slow)

Re:Yes, they piss me off (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197202)

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax on top of what you've already paid to park there.

It isn't a tax, it's a deterrent to prevent too many people trying to park in the middle of downtown. In my city, there are areas with meters and areas with free parking. Guess which areas I can never find a parking spot?

Re:Yes, they piss me off (2, Insightful)

RIAAShill (1599481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197210)

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax on top of what you've already paid to park there.

That sounds great, doesn't it?

Sounds better than driving around for an hour trying to find a parking spot. Putting a price tag on a spot encourages use of public transit or private parking. It can also discourage even visiting in the first place, so municipialities and businesses have to consider whether demand is strong enough to support parking meters (or, in many cases, whether more investment in free parking is justified).

$2 an hour for a good shot at a nice parking spot, along with the knowledge that I'm giving a boost to help fund improvements in the roads, schools, and other assets and services, doesn't seem like such a bad deal to me.

Parking meters are democratic (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197300)

What would you do about the freeriders who come from out of town and park here? They don't pay any taxes in this town. And what about people who don't have any cars? Should they pay taxes for your parking place?

The best thing would be to get rid of all taxes and charge directly for every public service. Can't pay? Get a job! Or look for a charity organization that's willing to support you.

Re:Parking meters are democratic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201584)

Spoken like the typical ignorant American "libertarian"...
Try walking in the shoes of that person who can't find a job for a day and see how you like it...

Re:Parking meters are democratic (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201998)

Spoken like the typical ignorant American "libertarian"... Try walking in the shoes of that person who can't find a job for a day and see how you like it...

HOW? They wouldn't have shoes in the first place!

Re:Yes, they piss me off (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197734)

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax on top of what you've already paid to park there.

It's either let the city collect parking fees, or pay more in taxes to make those parking spaces available for free to everyone. Pick one. But remember, "free" parking isn't really free. Those spaces could be put to a more lucrative use. So by not charging for parking, you're cheating yourself as a taxpayer.

And then consider a parking lot where the parking is free but the parking lot never fills up. If you can't give something away for free, don't we call that "trash"? Why would anyone want to live in a city full of trash?

Re:Yes, they piss me off (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200646)

It's not a tax, nobody is withholding parking money from your paycheck or tacking it onto the price of everything you buy. It's a fee for service (something I thought all the /. armchair libertarian economists would approve of).

By occupying a parking space, you consume a limited resource. The meter (standing in for the resource's owner) extracts a fee proportional to the amount consumed. It's like something right out of market economics 101.

Hated, but necessary (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196390)

You really think it would make it easier to park in large cities for short errands if they didn't exist? Thank God someone actually thought enough to address the problem.

Re:Hated, but necessary (1, Redundant)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196748)

Where do you think you are? This is Slashdot, where no one cares about the unintended consequences of their actions or policy changes. We just want to get software for free, get music for free, park for free, to use other people's brilliant ideas for free. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

Re:Hated, but necessary (0, Interesting)

SalsaDoom (14830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197170)

According to Rick Berman, absolutely nothing ;) Slashdot's just leading the way to a better future for everyone. Once we get rid of financial incentives we will have our flying cars in no time, baby.

Re:Hated, but necessary (1)

drc003 (738548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197118)

So parking meters are only in large area's where they are actually needed? Yeah, OK. I personally do not hate parking meters that are in the type of places you describe. The problem is that in most cities I have been in they are everywhere. Most of them in places that would have no issues without them at all. The parking meter may have come to be for a solid reason but once they realized the money they could make they were expanded everywhere for one reason: To "nickel and dime" citizens for every cent($15 - $50) they could get.

Re:Hated, but necessary (4, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198006)

Where I live(that mystical place called Canada), they figured out that it cost businesses more money if there were meters then 2hr free parking, along with 15min errand spots. When we switched from meters to non, business downtown went up by 40%, and so did the available tax revenue.

Re:Hated, but necessary (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198694)

Can you provide any citation? I'd love to have it on hand in case this subject ever comes up in future.

Re:Hated, but necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32199942)

As the anon who started this comment thread, I'd love to see that research too, it sounds really awesome!

Re:Hated, but necessary (2, Informative)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198824)

I live in a small town in the UK, and I sincerely believe that parking costs are the biggest factor in driving people from the town businesses to out of town supermarkets. I really believe upping business rates a little, and making parking free except for a few key places would spur growth in the town no end. For those who don't know English towns, space is _always_ at a premium, and generally there is little to no roadside parking - what parking there is is generally a council owned extortionate multi-storey relatively (hopefully) close to town centre.

Re:Hated, but necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200082)

Well, the problem there is: Where are you going to FIT all the new parking garages, in an already-full area? Tear down some buildings?

Re:Hated, but necessary (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32202132)

I'm an American, but I lived in England for several years. Maybe it's my American bias, but we would always pick stores that had free parking over trying to find a garage or meter to park at. Lots of British stores are starting to figure it out (ASDA and Sainsbury's, in our case).

Re:Hated, but necessary (2, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32199574)

Where I live(that mystical place called Canada), they figured out that it cost businesses more money if there were meters then 2hr free parking, along with 15min errand spots. When we switched from meters to non, business downtown went up by 40%, and so did the available tax revenue.

Vancouver City Council is actually deciding to extend the parking meter hours to include Sunday as well. Turns out that the meters get moderated traffic, but on Sunday, it becomes a royal PITA to find a parking spot, short of paying at a parking garage.

Good and bad, it seems. Parking meters help encourage short term high-turnover parking, which businesses do like. The flip side is, well, potential loss of customers for those adverse to paying. Free parking, and you get stores angry that some employee working upstairs parked right in front of their store during most of the day, rotating every couple of hours or so.

It's a tough call for a city planner.

the high cost of free parking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201640)

Where I live(that mystical place called Canada), they figured out that it cost businesses more money if there were meters then 2hr free parking, along with 15min errand spots. When we switched from meters to non, business downtown went up by 40%, and so did the available tax revenue.

Check out an excellent book called "The High Cost of Free Parking":

http://www.google.ca/search?q=the+high+cost+of+free+parking

There are cities where 30% of the traffic in an area is simply people circling looking for a (free) parking spot.

Re:Hated, but necessary (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32202100)

Yeah, I'm not buying it either without a citation.

  I have one, though--In his book 'Traffic', Tom Vanderbilt explains why having meters actually IMPROVES business. Without meters, people park their cars in front of your store and leave it there all day, preventing new customers from coming to your store.

 

Re:Hated, but necessary (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32202114)

Oh wait, I guess you said "2 hour parking spots"... I posted too quickly...sorry.

Anyone got any coins? Please? (2, Interesting)

OFnow (1098151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196452)

They won't accept pennies. 99% accept only coins. San Francisco is talking about 7 day a week
parking meter enforcement, Many at $3 per hour (or more?). And in San Francisco the
collection/enforcement departments spend more money than the meters take in! Net loss.

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197192)

And in San Francisco the collection/enforcement departments spend more money than the meters take in! Net loss.

Is that per ticket, or the department as a whole? (i.e. if the number of tickets went up, would the department start to turn a profit?) Because any use of financial penalties should ALWAYS cost more than it brings in per use.

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32197214)

I think you misunderstand. San Francisco prefers fines to coins.

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197242)

Simple solution switch to credit card based machines with camera enforcement. This lets you reduce workforce and raise/lower rates based on time of day.

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197434)

Some places allow you to pay for parking by sending an SMS.

Sure not everyone always has a mobile phone handy. But not everyone always has enough coins either :).

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197912)

I would argue that parking meter enforcement's merits are unrelated to profit or loss of the operation. If the purpose of parking meters is to increase parking space turnaround so that more people are able to park in a certain area, such as a congested downtown commercial district, then that purpose is met as long as drivers are sufficiently incentivized to give up parking spaces after a reasonable amount of time (either by the cost of paying the meter for more time or by the expected cost of parking tickets (probability of receiving a ticket times dollar figure on the ticket). Similarly, speeding enforcement on highways is supposed to be about making the roads safer rather than making a profit for the government. Of course, the justifiable purposes of doing something rarely and only briefly have anything to do with the real purposes at work.

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198084)

Are you in the Dark Ages or something? Around here you can use a credit card if you want.

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (1)

OFnow (1098151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201506)

Yes, the dark ages. There are an insigificant
number of more modern meters, but those few
reportedly require a special meter card, not
ones credit card. Good Grief.

Ken Garcia, local columnist, reported
earlier this year that
the San Francisco department that handles
meters spends more in salary and maintenance
than the meters bring in.

Re:Anyone got any coins? Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201518)

You're missing the big picture. The point of enforcement departments is exactly that---enforcement. It's not to turn over a profit. Enforcement assures that people who want to park have a reasonable chance at getting a spot. Millions or more of dollars worth of business may be lost in San Francisco if it was impossible to use your car to do business because parking wasn't enforced.

Cool Hand Luke . . . (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196480)

Captain: "Maliciously destroying municipal property while under the influence. What was that?"

Luke: "Cutting the heads off of parking meters, Captain."

Re:Cool Hand Luke . . . (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196928)

What we have here, is the successful ability to communicate!

I had the same thought.

Not a fan, but.... (2, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196514)

In a bigger city near my home there are no parking meters. Instead, each parking spot int he business district is a '30 minutes only' (or sometimes only 15 minutes) between 7AM and 6PM. At least with meters you can pay more money and get to stay longer. In these spots all you can do is leave before Officer Cool (seriously that's his name) writes you a ticket.

Re:Not a fan, but.... (1)

ShadyG (197269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196774)

When I lived in San Francisco, they were pretty strict about "no feeding the meters". That is to say, they design the meters to go only up to, say 30 minutes, and that's it. If it runs out you get a ticket, but if they catch you putting more money in, you get one too. Best of both worlds!

Re:Not a fan, but.... (2, Interesting)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196990)

Meter feeding is supposed to be against the rules just about everywhere there's parking meters, but enforcement can very considerably. The really strict places don't count on catching you feeding more coins in--they'll chalk mark your tires to track how long you've been there, and ticket you if you're over the max time even if you have time on the meter.

Re:Not a fan, but.... (1)

nj_peeps (1780942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197036)

I remember looking for the chalk make when I was kid, and my dad would give me a quarter to put in the meter when we on the boardwalk.. ahhh the good old days when a quarter would give you at least 30 to 40 min.

Re:Not a fan, but.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32197490)

I treat chalk marks on my tires like any other form of graffiti. If you don't remove it immediately, the taggers assume you don't care, and then there's no end to it.

Re:Not a fan, but.... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198310)

Not every place with a parking meter has a maximum parking time...

Why is this in YRO? (3, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196626)

Is parking for free an inalienable right now? Did I miss a recent update to the US/EU constitutions?

Re:Why is this in YRO? (2, Interesting)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196810)

Parking shouldn't be free, we already subsidize driving enough as it is without allowing people the unlimited ability to park their private property on public land, as long as they would like. Make them pay for the privilege, it's part of the "privilege" (not right) of driving.

I also enjoy the turnover parking meters create, ensuring that most of the time when I need to run an errand downtown and have to drive, I can find a spot with minimal trouble.

Re:Why is this in YRO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32199548)

In Chicago you pay a private company to park your private property on public land that you've already paid for with your tax dollars. Even if you don't drive you pay for it and businesses already pay to have their businesses in these locations. Its a money scam where the government squeezes us for every dollar it can.

Re:Why is this in YRO? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32199654)

I assume you have already reviewed the studies that show parking meters improve the availability of parking.

By the way, the curb is technically not public land. It's on an easement. In the USA, deeds usually extend into the roadway. I doubt this differs any even if you are in a big city. Evidence? You have to clear snow from your sidewalk in many cities. Either I'm right (I know MY deed extends into the road), or everyone is a bunch of morons who enjoy involuntary servitude to the government.

Re:Why is this in YRO? (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32199818)

I should have specified I meant in business and commercial districts. Obviously you have some right to park in front of a house you rent/own. Subsidize parking for drivers in the middle of a downtown core? Forget it.

Re:Why is this in YRO? (1)

Shirogitsune (1810950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196876)

Parking meters for the information super-highway?

Re:Why is this in YRO? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197274)

Is parking for free an inalienable right now?

It should have been since the beginning. I guess the founding fathers forgot a couple.

End of an era... (4, Informative)

sponga (739683) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196680)

Parking Meter is dying...
Cheaper operations and ones that produce more written tickets for violators are more productive.
Being replaced by 'buy a ticket for half-day or full day' or more modern digital ones that detect when a car moves from the spot so the next person doesn't get free time.

Let us not forget the 'Parking Meter Fairy' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKTFCdpBsAA [youtube.com]
Although only to find out it is illegal to put coins in other peoples time slots, those things are nothing but a source for parking tickets and as we call the Ticket writers around here 'Vultures'.

Oklahoma City site of first parking meter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZQgPRFgkOA [youtube.com]

How to Hack a Parking Meter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2CZ6yHJdBs [youtube.com]

How to hack electronic parking gates
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BA37BmMgBc [youtube.com]

How to Rip-off a Parking meter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOz7cdNaQ3c [youtube.com]

Hi Tech Parking Meter, Los Angeles
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y76VFJ0LoOU [youtube.com]

Re:End of an era... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196964)

Being replaced by 'buy a ticket for half-day or full day' or more modern digital ones that detect when a car moves from the spot so the next person doesn't get free time.

Free time? How about over charging? Some cities require license plate to be recorded to park at zone. Non transferable and no refund if you leave early.

Re:End of an era... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197208)

I would hardly say parking meters are the most hated inventions in history. I might think that handicapped spots are more hated. They let arguably healthy people get the best spots, while those that do not have paid doctors to give then a free pass have to pay to park further away.

I mean the only way to get a ticket at the parking meter is to not pay for the meter. Those of who live in the city know how valuable meters are. They encourage the flow of traffic so that everyone gets an opportunity to park. The new meters may seem a bit less fair, as we can no longer borrow time from the previous person, but they do get rid of the issue of accidentally paying the wrong meter, and allow for the odd day when on wants to drive around town instead of walk. Once you have permit, it is good for the day.

Of course we all want to freeload, but that is not really something we all can do. I frankly would be ok with banning all on street parking in town as that would make driving much safer, but people seem to want on street parking, and the city won't get rid of it because it does generate revenue.

Re:End of an era... (2, Informative)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32199056)

We've got reserved spaces for parents with children at all our supermarkets in the UK now - Personally, I think that if your kid can't walk the extra 50 yards to get into the sugar laden crammed supermarkets you've got bigger fucking problems than not being able to park right next to the door.

No, I'm not bitter...

Re:End of an era... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32202006)

It's so you can get your kid and the shopping safely into the car without having to walk through a busy, dangerous car park with a trolley full of food and a kid running in front of cars. It wouldn't be so bad, only nowadays people seem to drive like fucking idiots and going at 15 mph for a few seconds until they leave the car park means they might miss a few seconds of X-Factor or something.

Re:End of an era... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197326)

In our city, we've got a bit of both, the meters are slowly being phased out.

But the new ones are basically an electronic booth that covers about half a block, or an entire parking lot. You go up, you pay the alotted amount, and enter your license plate. You don't have to leave anything on your dash, you don't have a timer to look at, there are no sensors for your spot.

Every once in a while a meter maid drives by, checks the database for that booth. If you aren't in the Database, DING.

Re:End of an era... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32197410)

modern digital ones that detect when a car moves from the spot so the next person doesn't get free time.

That's not "free time." I paid for the right to park in that spot for 30 minutes, and if I leave before that time is up, I expect that the next parker will get to make use of the time I bought.

Re:End of an era... (1)

Rewind (138843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198870)

Granted I live in a smaller city (little over 180,000 in the metro/city area, much less in the core 'downtown') but we recently got rid of our parking meters. Now they just have signs that say 45 minute parking between 6 and 6. A bicycle cop rides around and if he sees the same car long enough he tickets it. Seems to me much more effective than the parking meters. At the very least I can actually park in front of my apartment now to do quick things like unload groceries rather than park forever away and make multiple trips to haul them all in.

I remember those. (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196696)

Security easily defeated with a McDonald's straw. Or a reasonable facsimile of the official "out of order" bag they used to place over the broken ones.

Real Men of Genius (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196830)

The spandex inventor gets recognition.
The guy who invented the parking meter not so much.

I am fine with the meters themselves (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196970)

Why hate the meters? They are there to make parking easier and more reliable for everyone. It's the enforcement that pisses me off to no end. Writing a ticket for a meter one minute expired, or for not having a front license on your car (like it somehow creates a hazard?). And the pricing... Why should meters be $2/hr? Ever? Who carries that much loose change?

Re:I am fine with the meters themselves (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197066)

There's been a trend towards parking meters [latimes.com] and parking stations [annarbor.com] that take credit cards.

Re:I am fine with the meters themselves (3, Insightful)

Comboman (895500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197414)

Why hate the meters?

I agree. Now the guy who invented the pay toilet, that's another story.

Re:I am fine with the meters themselves (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201354)

Parking meter enforcement is proof that government can be incredibly efficient and productive when it decides to. Here in New Orleans, we just finished 8 years under one of the most useless mayors imaginable, the police department is in shambles, oh and 75% of the city was underwater a few years back, but it'll only take a few minutes for them to ticket your car.

Ah...city revenue in a box... (2, Interesting)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197064)

I really didn't care about them too much till they installed them in front of my house. Granted I lived downtown at the time, but it was a house, not an apartment. Thankfully there was a street within walking distance that had no meters at least till I moved away. There was this old guy in the neighborhood that would always walk the roads nearby with a bag of change after they installed them and refill people's meters. He used to just walk around and talk to the people who would be sitting on their front porch, but apparently he had enough disposable income to keep about 50 parking meters fresh all day.

And as nice and selfless as that was, that hurt the city income enough that they made a local ordinance against filling other people's meters. They even tried to ticket him more than once. Then they started chalk marking tires to see if they went past a certain time and ticketed them anyway. Just another reason I grew up to be the anti-tax, anti-government program person I am today.

Re:Ah...city revenue in a box... (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198166)

It amazes me that we find that we have to pay for parking on a public street. Because someone turned off the engine and got out makes you liable to rent the curb time. What if my car moved asymptotically slowly?

Re:Ah...city revenue in a box... (1)

eh2o (471262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200538)

Parking fines are are a non-democratic means that the city uses to fund certain operations that, for whatever reason be it lack of popularity or laziness, are not otherwise provisioned by legitimate sources of revenue that are approved by the public opinion. Its a clear conflict of interest and the injustice of fining is so obvious that its one of the leading frustrations that people cite in discussions of government annoyances. But I think we should differentiate between objections to what is essentially government corruption versus an objection to democratic governance in general.

Only one thing to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32197198)

Fuck you Carl Magee.

There's something worse (5, Informative)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197394)

Downtown Portland Oregon got rid of their curbside parking meters. Used to be, you got out of your car and put in a quarter or a dime (or a nickel if you're an old fogey), twisted the little thingy and went on your way.

Now you get out of your car, lock the doors (this is Portland...), walk a half block to the ticket vendor machine, and go through the five discrete steps necessary to print a ticket. Assuming you're successful, you walk back to your car, unlock the door (this is Portland...) affix the ticket to your window with the sticky back, lock the door, and go on your way.

During rush hour, you may wait in line for a significant amount of time to get your ticket. Especially if the moron in front of you can not read directions, but I digress. Parenthetically, what happens if the meter maid happens by while you're in line for your ticket? I haven't had this experience yet.

When you get back to your car, peel off the ticket and throw it on the ground. Just kidding, you're supposed to hunt for a trash can, or throw it on the floor of your car along with the empty coffee cups and breakfast burrito wrappers, but looking at the gutters downtown it appears that a lot of people just drop them on the ground.

So we've replaced the purely mechanical, non-waste-producing (but generally hated) parking meter with an electronic, waste-producing, geographically distant, ticket vending machine that's even more hated.

Time marches on.

Re:There's something worse (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197530)

I like the recent Portland meters. I've only once or twice had to wait behind someone who had trouble operating the meter, and I love that they take debit cards, since I usually don't keep a bunch of change on me.

Re:There's something worse (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198160)

What's with the "this is Portland" thing? Portland has car prowlers like any city, but nothing particularly out of the ordinary. And anyway, why lock your door? Do you WANT a broken window? What are you keeping in there, suitcases of $100's?

Re:There's something worse (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32202280)

Car makers out there should make bullet and bat proof glasses the standard.

Re:There's something worse (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201080)

Maybe the idea is that you're not supposed to own a car, and that the private automobile is a wasteful, selfish mode of transportation? Ever think of that? Maybe the idea is to make every facet of car ownership irritating and oppressive, so that you'll have your car recycled and ride a bicycle instead? Ever think about how good it would feel to stop contributing to climate change and instead use a sustainable method of transportation?

Re:There's something worse (0, Troll)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32202036)

You know how often it rains here?

Re:There's something worse (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201744)

We've had the same system in Sweden for decades, except we don't affix the tickets to the windows, they're just paper tickets that lay on the dashboard. I've never seen a curb-side parking meter here, seems like a waste of money to me to build one for each spot... But then I don't have a car, subways and buses work fine.

Paging Luke Jackson (2, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197482)

Get out your pipe cutter and celebrate.

I don't mind parking meteres. (4, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197628)

I live and work in a busy downtown area. If there were no meters all spots would be taken by 8:00 a.m. and anybody coming downtown during the day to do business would be out of luck.

Parking meters don't just take in money, they help moderate the usage of the space.

Re:I don't mind parking meteres. (1)

roadsider (970039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32197846)

I truly hate parking meters only when I see them in front of a whole streets worth of empty storefronts. Parking costs almost can't be high enough in big, bustling cities because automobiles tend to destroy the urban environment. Take transit. Or, park it in a garage and walk. Or just walk. Driving isn't a right. Owning a car isn't a right. And parking it where ever you damn well please isn't a right.

Parking is only a problem for those too lazy to walk.

Re:I don't mind parking meteres. (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32199774)

Or who can't walk very well. Or who don't have time to walk.

Parking costs almost can't be high enough in big, bustling cities because automobiles tend to destroy the urban environment.

Concrete, asphalt and steel isn't my idea of an "environment".

Re:I don't mind parking meteres. (1)

myth24601 (893486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198364)

I work in a busy downtown area with parking meters but they are hardly used because anyone with a handicap tag can park all day without paying so all the metered spots are always taken. Might as well remove the meters and just designate it as handicap parking.

And in other news... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32198508)

74 years ago today a psychotic Norwegian Brown Rat coupled with an unknown venomous reptile released by a frightened owner into the New York City sewer system. Several months later the first Parking Cop slithered up out of a storm drain, and life has never been the same since for car drivers in various cities around the world.

The horrible new creature was able to subsist on little more than dung and rotting garbage, produced a new litter with every single case of copulation, and gets horny when abused.

Have a happy retirement... (1)

freddled (544384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200276)

75 years? Must be time for them to retire!

Cool hand Luke... (1)

sparkeyjames (264526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200986)

sneers at your money grubbing parking meter.

In other news man eats 52 eggs.

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