Meter Madness: Santa Monica Introduces New “Smart” Parking Meters

Santa Monica, California is introducing new technology to end the practice of drivers using minutes remaining on parking meters from the prior cars. New meters use internet connections and sensors buried in the asphalt to wipe out remaining time once a car leaves the parking space. It seems a bit unfair. The city was paid to rent the space and I think I should be allowed to hand over my time to another citizen — after all I paid for the rental and could remain in the spot for the full duration.

I have often thought it bizarre that some cities threaten citizens with tickets if they add money to meters for cars of other citizens to prevent ticketing. I have heard such stories and I fail to understand the legal basis for such a citation.

This new technology is based on the premise that the rental space is specifically tied to the vehicle. However, I view it as tied to the space. When I rent a hotel room, I do so for a period of time and can presumably allow another person to use it as long as I do not exceed occupancy rules. Likewise, if I buy a movie ticket, it is for one set for the duration of the movie. I can give the ticket to another person to take my seat. Why should a parking meter be different?

The greatest loss, however, is the demise of one of the few remaining forms of urban manna. In a world where we are being clipped left and right for charges and fees, the parking meters remain one of the most common vehicles of good luck for urban dwellers who delight in finding 5 minutes remaining from the prior user. It is like the lottery for drivers — God shines down upon you with a small gift. Now that will be taken away — leaving us without hope of winning a meter lottery as part of our work day.

What do you think?

Source: NY Times

53 thoughts on “Meter Madness: Santa Monica Introduces New “Smart” Parking Meters

  1. I believe the folks in your home town have found an even better method of screwing everyone with parking meters.

    A few years back in a short-sighted attempt to hide the actual cost of maintaining the city Chicago sold their parking meters to a private company. Of course rates went through the roof that was expected. But the new twist came recently when the private company presented a bill to the city for $57MILLION to compensate them for lost revenue when streets were closed or parking banned for events.

  2. So another way to be a nice guy to a stranger is being wiped out. No reason to wonder why people are becomiing more and more hostile.

  3. It’s new technology, so I vote that it’s better, even if I don’t understand how. I don’t need to understand because the market does the figuring for me.

    After all, who are we to question progress?

    This technology was obviously developed because the market demanded it, even if the market was for local law enforcement.

    And this probably helps the city with parking enforcement if they only have to send officers to spots that they know are expired, so with the new technology, the city can get by with fewer employees.

  4. This is merely another example of government using subtle means to raise money while they are seemingly not raising taxes. This is the lasting product of the Grover Norquist “War on Taxes” that can really be translated to mean: How do you screw the 99%, while ensuring the 1% gets wealthier? The answer of course is you do it increments by raising tolls and fees, while strangling “progressivity” out of the tax system.

  5. They sell pipecutters at the hardware stores and plumbing shops in that town. A good capitalist could pull the Bain on them by going around at night under the cover of darkness and cutting the meters off. Take them to a secluded spot, rip ofen the change box and viola! This is not a new idea but since the West Coast is several time zones behind and thinks they are ahead of the rest of us I thought I would pass this tidbit of ingenuity along to Saint Monica Lewinsky citizens. Pipecutters. Around twenty dollars. Hacksaws make too much noise. Been there. Throw a pillow case over the meter and when it is removed it is sight unseen as you throw it in your wheelbarrow or trunk of your car. Paybacks. Then the next guy who arrives will not have to put any money in a meter and the money you have will finance your next pipecutter to pass on to the gang.

  6. “Likewise, if I buy a movie ticket, it is for one set for the duration of the movie.” Actually, you probably can’t. In all liklihood there is a clause on the ticket that says “not transferable once movie has begun” which is perfectly legal.

    When you rent an apartment, in most cases you may not transfer that apartment to another person, or even allow another person to live there with you unless that person is named as a tenant on the original lease.

    In parking lots where you put money in a slot, if you leave early and the slot becomes available there is no “time left” for another person to park.

    Mountains out of molehills. The purpose of parking meters is to generate income for the city. A second reason may be to reduce congestion. It makes perfect sense to configure the meters in a manner to maximize their primary purpose.

  7. what Frankly and Mike S. said. The City of Chicago is now fighting that bill that Frankly discussed, but it makes you wonder who wrote the contract?
    You are correct Mike that this kind of double billing is akin to the cities and states selling off or leasing their assets for upfront money. They are trying too make up for lost tax revenue and less federal money. It is a losing battle.

  8. “I have often thought it bizarre that some cities threaten citizens with tickets if they add money to meters for cars of other citizens to prevent ticketing. I have heard such stories and I fail to understand the legal basis for such a citation.”

    Agreed. It’s just spiteful, and greedy.

  9. “I have often thought it bizarre that some cities threaten citizens with tickets if they add money to meters for cars of other citizens to prevent ticketing. I have heard such stories and I fail to understand the legal basis for such a citation.”

    Usually occurs in areas with a lot of small retail stores — where the customers are in and out in a short period of time. Retailers are dependent on high turn over of nearby parking spaces to maintain a steady flow of customers.

  10. This is another reason to avoid the LA Basin at all costs. If you want a nice day at the beach, go to San Diego or Santa Barbara. LA and environs are not worth the risk of getting caught up in the web of corrupt government, brutal cops, and general congestion.

  11. California is criminally mismanaged by the Left, and can’t possibly raise enough revenue to fund its insane Social programs. This is just creative thinking from the Left, trying to grub nickels out of the public, to continue their hopeless Leftard Dream. It’s like trying to cure Cancer by putting a Bandaid over it.

  12. Bill H
    1, June 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

    blah blah blah….In parking lots where you put money in a slot, if you leave early and the slot becomes available there is no “time left” for another person to park.

    blah blah blah….
    ———————————–

    the streets ARE NOT parking lots (which are often owned properties and subject to insurances and liabilities etc that the streets are not…) and the city streets are primarily built w/tax $$$ and for the publics use. This is not anything politically sound but a scrambling to make up for shortfalls created by sycophants catering to corporate profits….and now needing to balance the books.

    But the biggest last laff may be that as more people retire to cities and the infrastructure is improved by necessity….only the filthy rich will have a need to park anywhere….and shopping is becoming as passe as smoking….

  13. That seems pointless. Around here, they just switched to the digital ones – you pay and get a receipt. Then when you leave, somebody else has to pay to get their own receipt. That seems cheaper than putting stuff into the asphalt.

    I don’t agree with any of this stuff since, as stated, they were paid for the time… But it seems weird to me that they’re going through this much trouble when there are more effective and cheaper ways to make it work.

  14. I thought California was so dang broke? How could they possibly get the money to buy all these expensive brand new meters, when the old ones were just fine? How do you justify spending that money, when the state is going bankrupt?

    Not to mention, it was someplace in California where they made the electric company remove their smart meters because of health hazards (smart meters produce microwaves which are really great at producing cancer). So even though they’re dangerous and have been removed from houses, it’s okay to just put them out on the streets?

  15. Just let the little meter run out…. Some are booting the vehicle without prior or outstanding tickets……. This is especially true for private companies running the parking spaces……

  16. Where’s the refund if you leave early? Certainly the “technology” exists for that as well. Turnabout is fairplay.

  17. The obvious solution is a blank assignment. I prepare a form document assigning the unused time on the meter, determined when I’m leaving the space. The assignment is to the bearer, is dated (with my “checkout time” noted), signed by me and taped to the meter. The next person who takes possession of the space becomes the assignee and is entitled to any then remaining time on the meter.

  18. Followup to the Santa Monica beach nativity issue from December 2011
    /2011/12/14/religious-groups-in-santa-monica-call-for-changes-after-atheists-win-majority-of-places-set-aside-for-holiday-scenes

    http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-santa-monica-nativity-controversy-ban,0,461645.story

    Santa Monica has banned the holiday displays.

    Which as I said earlier is fine with me since it is otherwise a government funded holiday display in the public space, but it does, accurately, send the message that atheists are intolerant, warred on Christmas and won.

  19. And leejcaroll and Kate Nicholas are absolutely right.

    The main effect of these meters is to teach people who’s in charge. So even city government is not our servant, city government is our master.

  20. 1982 Sci-Fi Convention “Blade Runner” behind the scenes short film you’ve never seen. Bonus: Syd Mead discussing how the parking meters he designed would electrocute anyone trying to tamper with them (via FARK) (at 5:00 into the video)

  21. Superglue works quite well. Fill the coin slot when there is still time on the meter. The thing freezes up and you can park all day because the needle does not goe down. Do a whole row of them at once. But, I still like the pipecutter idea better. Newman did not invent the idea, Its not “Newman’s own”.

  22. I ll=ike the new ‘smart’ parking garages. You see a green light on the ceiling, you know there is an empty spot. much easier than driving rows looking.
    But the meters talking back time already paid for? What if you want to park better or back in instead after you pay? not fair.

  23. Barkin Dog, Newman may not have invented it but he sure does a nice job of it. ‘course, I like about anything Newman did. : )

    Are we sure that Santa Monica hasn’t privatized its parking meters?

    NYC has a rather quaint deal. The towing operation is privatized. The guys travel around with their computers and tow away out of town cars. It cost hundreds of dollars to get your car back.

    I live in a county where there isn’t a single parking meter. In the city, free parking for 2 hours on the main streets. No limit in the parking lot behind the stores or on the streets a couple of blocks of the main st.

  24. BarkinDog, the last time I went downtown and had to use a meter the meter police also used the old ‘mark on the tire’ method just to make sure some defect of the meter didn’t get you more than your allotted maximum time. You’re glue trick wouldn’t work here. St. Louis meter police are serious about their pound of flesh. :-(

  25. anon:
    I don’t think the Santa Monica story speaks to intolerance by atheists at all. Instead, atheists merely played the game by the rules set up by Christians, and won.

  26. Mike, I think it goes back to the original discussion (http://jonathanturley.org/2011/12/14/religious-groups-in-santa-monica-call-for-changes-after-atheists-win-majority-of-places-set-aside-for-holiday-scenes/)

    I think it was intolerance for the reasons I stated there.

    What we now have is instead of multiple messages being distributed, zero messages being distributed.

    Before the atheists and the Christians could speak, and now no one can.

    To me that’s a strange victory for either believers of freedom of speech or for believers that atheism is more rational and tolerant than religious beliefs.

    If a group of first amendment defenders (or government/taxpayer waste zealots) had kicked everyone out of the park, it would be one thing, but it was a group of atheists doing so, and that fits right into the liberal war on Christmas meme.

  27. “… going around at night under the cover of darkness and cutting the meters off.”

    As I remember from the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” the ultimate ramifications of the parking meter vandalism did not redound to the best interests of the vandal. Something about “a failure to communicate.”

    As to the professor’s point, I suspect that the City’s legal department would reply: “You do not rent ‘the parking space’ but ‘your use of it,.’ just as you do not rent the Ferris wheel at the carnival, but only your use of a seat for the duration of the ride.'”

    And anyway, in capitalist America, no one purchases anything for themselves with the express intent of giving something to some freeloader for nothing. That sounds so … communist Democrat.

  28. Michael Murry read this shortly after hearing Sen Jeff Sessions talk about the freeloaders who are on food stamps. Darn those hungry people

  29. I can destroy the system. Figure out how to fool the buried sensor into thinking the car has moved. I suspect it is just a magnetometer that senses the magnetic field above the space. Walk by a few hundred spots with a big magnet, reset all the meters to zero. Parking tickets are instantly unenforceable.

  30. […]just as you do not rent the Ferris wheel at the carnival, but only your use of a seat for the duration of the ride. – Michael Murrey

    Love Mike’s comment, but the carnival ride example doesn’t quite work. The people who would rejoice in free meter time would hope to goodness people don’t exit the Ferris wheel before their ride is over. On the other hand, those who would hate the concept of one second of “free” parking meter time going to “freeloaders” would love to see (and hear) the results of people getting off the wheel before their allotted time, or shall we say, at the height of their ride.

  31. anon
    1, June 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm
    And leejcaroll and Kate Nicholas are absolutely right.

    The main effect of these meters is to teach people who’s in charge. So even city government is not our servant, city government is our master.
    ——————————————————————————-
    no anon, this would make our city govs our ‘slave traders’…or the smash and grab burglers that pawn stolen goods…but since we have a Constitution, and LAWS against slavery…and laws against selling stolen property….then this mkes those city govs fraudsters to those that they pawned the meters to…especially if they were interests outside the Country. Because at the end of the day….can you collect on the goods that ultimately don’t belong to you ?

  32. Does anyone have Turley’s ear so we can have a discussion about the strange SC decision about the return of sewer fees in Indianapolis? Or perhaps one of the guest bloggers would care to discuss.

  33. German Shepherd,

    The best part of the story is at the end. NO ONE liked the meters but the city was dragging its feet in getting rid of them. Lots of people thanked him and congratulated him on finally getting rid of the meters.

  34. Woosty, I’m not sure it’s an either / or.

    When the overwhelming pattern of government is more punitive fines, more surveillance, more demanding of obeisance, and less ability to change or appeal than how are they not our masters?

    And just because they are subverting the constitution, doesn’t mean they can’t simultaneously be corrupt. Probably demands it.

  35. Parking meters. I caught garbage one time from a lawyer girl because I parked on the street instead of parking in the parking garage. She said, why did you park on the street? Because it only costs $2.00 to park on the street for two hours, but it costs $10.00 to park in the parking garage. And I didn’t need the entire two hours.

  36. So far we don’t have that in SF, but they are already considering it. Drivers are fed up with SFMTA restrictive parking policies. ENUF is fighting with a petition and parking survey at sfenuf.org
    We also track the media on metermadness.wordpress.com

  37. […] Santa Monica, California is introducing new technology to end the practice of drivers using minutes remaining on parking meters from the prior cars. New meters use internet connections and sensors buried in the asphalt to wipe out remaining time once a car leaves the parking space. It seems a bit unfair. The city was paid to rent the space and I think I should be allowed to hand over my time to another citizen — after all I paid for the rental and could remain in the spot for the full duration… (more) […]

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