Sunday, July 18, 2004

I Love Newfangled Parking Meters

Anthony Flint writes about the new parking meter systems in today's Boston Globe, Parking Matters:
The city's pilot program for 'pay and display' parking, on Union, Batterymarch, Water, and Kilby streets and the centralized pay-per-space system on Cambridge Street at City Hall Plaza was set to end in June, when the vendors vying to replace Boston's 7,000-plus coin-operated meters were supposed to take their demonstration equipment away (the old meters will be stuck back in the sidewalks at those locations). But the newfangled systems will remain in place through convention week and into August, said Dan Hofmann, deputy commissioner for field operations for the Boston Transportation Department.

The new systems, where drivers pay at a centrally located station, which accept dollar bills, for their spaces, will be evaluated for user-friendliness, ease of maintenance, and enforcement effectiveness, Hofmann said.
By calling the new meters, 'newfangled', Flint implies that they are 'needlessly novel.'

I disagree.

These new meters are amazing. Much like the parking systems you encounter in European cities, these new meter systems have lots of benefits over the current coin operated meters.

First of all, you get to pay with dollar bills. Secondly, instead of maintaining a whole blocks worth of parking meters, only one station needs to be serviced. Finally, they are fun! More fun than a boring old coin operated meter that always seems to loose track of how many quarters you put in.

These Schlumberger parking systems increased Toronto's parking meter revenue by 60%.

If they end up being used in Boston, I have a couple of suggestions:

1. On the receipt that you leave inside your car it says, "Use sticker on back to fix to windscreen."

For Boston, you should probably change the text to read, "Use sticker on back to stick the receipt to windshield. GO SOX!"

2. Instead of 'EXPIRY TIME', it should say 'Expiration Time', or 'Get back here by."

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