The New York Times highlights a new parking system in the city of Santa Monica, California.
Using new technology, the city has adapted a system that resets the time on each parking meter to zero the moment a car pulls out of a space. And if a sign shows a parking limit of one hour, that is exactly what it means — once the meter runs out, it is done. Trying to fill it up with more quarters or another swipe of the credit card is just an exercise in futility.
City officials say the changes are devised to make street parking more efficient by turning over spaces more quickly. But critics, including residents and visitors from near and far, say the tactic appears to be simply a way to squeeze more money out of the parking meters.
“What we want to be doing is encouraging people who come here for hours at a time to park further away in a lot, which may even be less money, and leave these spaces for those who are here for just a short time,” said Donald Patterson, the assistant director of finance for the city, who is overseeing the project. “This isn’t about revenue. It’s about making the parking system more efficient.”
The city does expect that the new system will bring in an additional $1.7 million in revenue, but officials say the money will be used to pay for the meters and credit card fees over the next three years. Mr. Patterson said that since the new meters have been installed, parking tickets in the area have decreased.
Photo Credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times