Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Monday, September 05, 2005

Watch Out- New "SMART" Parking Meters!

A few weeks ago I received a "parking violation" notice in the mail. I never saw a ticket on my car and was not expecting the notice at all. I don't even remember being on the street the day of the violation, but I was running a lot of errands that day and the notice was for parking too long in an 24 minute zone. Since it was only $29 I decided to pay it rather than fight it, but I wasn't too happy about doing so.

I don't know about you, but recieving parking tickets makes me mad. I usually try REALLY hard to park legally and will spend a lot of time trying to do so. Sometimes the meters keep eating your quarters without registering any time. I have had to repark 4 times just trying to find a meter that works. I know that you are supposed to get the length of time free if the meter is broken, but usually they will still ticket you.

A high school student a couple of years ago did an experiment on parking meters and found that the vast majority did not give you the full time for the money you deposited. Well, the news only gets worse. There are now more ways that those meter maids can figure out how long you have been in a spot. Chalking tires with a white line is passe in some places.

There was a very informative article in the Chronicle this morning. Apparently in Pacific Grove everytime a car pulls away from a spot the meter resets to zero, so no one can use the leftovers from someone else's meter time. The "parking officials" now have GPS enabled cameras that scan your license plate and know how long your car has occupied the given spot. In some places there is an wire grid under the pavement that triggers a sensor whenever a car pulls in. The information is sent wirelessly to "traffic enforcers" so they know when time runs out and they can rush over and give you a ticket. No need for chalking, just lots of tickets issued. They also beef up their parking enforcement on Saturdays because they can catch a lot of people on that day.

On the plus side, technology has made it possible in some places for people to pay by cell phone. That would be a helpful break for those who never seem to have enough quarters in their cars. All-in-all, this is a "heads-up" warning for those of you who ever need to park in public. Which is most of us all of the time. This fabulous new technology will probably be coming to your city soon- and probably without any warning to you! Happy Parking To You! Good luck in this brave new world...


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