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Keep the change

Gazette staff July 11th, 2012

Oklahoma City, home of the first parking meter, is getting new parking meters that might crush the hopes and dreams of downtown drivers.

Credit: Brad Gregg

According to city officials, the downtown streetscape and green space renovation project known as Project 180 created more than 600 new on-street parking spots, and the old coin parking meters will be replaced by a “more advanced pay station.”

While the new meters do accept coins, they also accept credit cards, and as many as 125 multispace, solar-powered pay stations will be installed in phases throughout the summer, with the first phase going in around the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Here’s where the crushing of hopes and dreams comes in:

Think you can throw some money in a meter and take off to the appointment you’re already running late for? Think again.

Users first use coins or credit to enter their time in the meter, print a receipt and put the receipt on the front driver’s side windshield of the car. If the receipt isn’t visible, it’s a parking violation.

That means there are no more opportunities for altruism by feeding other meters; no more pure joy afforded to drivers who pull into an empty space only to discover the clock is still ticking. What’s next? The outlawing of rainbows and baby laughs?

If a person returns to the car before time expires, he or she can leave the receipt on the dash and move to any other downtown curbside parking space without having to pay again. (Hmm, we thought Project 180’s renovations were creating a more walkable downtown?) “You’re now paying for time, not for a specific space,” said Debi Holtzclaw, parking manager for the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority. “Users of curbside parking downtown will no longer have to leave un-used time for the next driver; they can take it with them.”

Ayn Rand would have been proud — had she believed in public parking, or public anything.

Oh, and 30 minutes worth of parking will cost 75 cents, an hour will cost $1.50, and two hours will cost $3. Did we mention there’s also a minimum time limit to use the space as well? Yep — you have to pay for at least 30 minutes to park there.

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07.11.2012 at 12:00 Reply

So these meters print a physical receipt?  Makes you wonder what the added cost per unit for technology and maintainance is now that there is a printer in each meter.  What ever happened to KISS; Keep it Simple Stupid.