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Controversial 'Smart' Parking Meters to Debut in Santa Monica

If you thought parking couldn’t get any worse in the Los Angeles area, think again. Thanks to newly installed “smart” parking meters, which wipe away any unused time, motorists in Santa Monica will no longer be able to squeeze into spots paid for by the previous inhabitant. They will also not be able to keep feeding the meters in an effort to avoid moving their cars.

Translation: more money for the city and a potential parking nightmare for drivers. –TEB

KPPC:

On Monday, the city began installing thousands of new parking meters that can actually sense when one car leaves and another arrives. The new meters reset to zero after a car vacates, preventing the next driver from receiving any left over time. What happens to the unused funds? No, consumers are not reimbursed.

The money is actually kept by the city, which expects to raise its meter revenue by $1.7 million. These meters also do not allow motorists to pay more than the maximum time allowed for a given spot, which blocks drivers from keeping a space for several hours by simply continuously feeding meters.

The new meters will take payment by coin, credit card or by cell phone. Drivers can also receive text message warnings of their expiring meters.

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The Huffington Post:

The changes are intended to improve parking availability and the customer experience, Don Patterson, assistant director of finance for the city, told The Huffington Post. Data collected from the sensors will eventually lead to a parking map that indicates in real-time where there are available parking meters in the city.

Currently, feeding the meter beyond the posted time limit is subject to a $64 citation and is monitored by traffic services officers who mark the tires of cars with chalk. The new technology will make enforcement more efficient, and the citation fine will remain the same.

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