Recently when jogging by Santa Monica College I noticed holes being drilled into the center of every metered parking space and a strange object being inserted. When I got home it dawned on me what I saw. I remembered reading that the city of Santa Monica was going to put sensors beneath each metered parking space so that when a car departed the meter would reset to zero. I have always been of the opinion that good begets good and one way that this good is paid forward is by leaving a parking meter with time left on it for the next person. We all delight when we get to a meter that has some time left, we feel we’ve hit the jackpot when only having to insert 25 more cents rather than 50 cents for the half hour of time needed to shop at the farmers’ market or pick up the dry cleaning.
The city has chosen to do away with the idea of good karma and the ability to share small bits of time with one another. The notion that the city will now take what’s left on a meter and put it in its pocket means that people will be paying twice or even three times for the same spot and the same amount of time. If a car leaves with time left, the sensor will know and reset the meter to zero. No more lucky breaks, no more paying it forward and being generous to your neighbors. Its a disgrace. I am not sure how much the city will earn by double dipping but whatever the amount it can’t equal the good feelings of generosity when you add money to a meter before you leave because it had time on it when you arrived. I am sure its too late to change the city’s greedy attitude but its worth noting that this change is not welcome by all.
Brian C. Moss