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. 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
    We also track the media on

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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