Sunday, October 23, 2011

Commentary: Parking Technology Use Is Mean And Greedy

Submitted by Frederick Cohan.
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The latest in parking meter technology has arrived in Middletown -- a sensor in each space that detects the presence of a car. The meter resets to zero when a car leaves, so we can no longer be gifted parking time from a shopper who came before us.

Likewise, we can no longer dish out generosity and kindness to someone who might come after us. Worse, when a car's meter runs out of time, it summons the parking cop.

Who thinks of this stuff? Imagine an alternative universe where parking sensors perform acts of kindness to shoppers. I just returned from such a universe -- a parking garage in Colombia, South America -- where each parking spot shows a red light overhead, visible from a great distance, if the space is taken, or a green light if the space is available.

A sensor by itself is not kind or malevolent, but Middletown has chosen the meanest and greediest imaginable use of the technology.

14 comments:

Random Esker said...

In keeping with the thought that "a sensor by itself is not kind or malevolent" it may be valuable to know that the new technology does allow a 10 minute grace period for the many who profess to say that they were "only in the store for a minute!" when contesting a parking ticket.

Anonymous said...

The other day I was shopping in Middltown. Arrived at 5:30pm, when the meter went off at 5:55pm I got a $10 ticket. There were no cars around.

I hate shopping in Middletown because of the parking Nazi's. I want to give the city business but they just want their money. Used to get 2 hours free parking at the city lots, now it's one hour. Not enough time for lunch or a haircut. I drive 5 minutes to lunch at Time Out Tavern and park free for lunch and can stay for 2 hours. I can go to Ramani's in Meriden 10 minutes away and park free or Middletown? I can take my kid to laser tag in Newington or Laser tag in Middletown...oh yea, laser tag in Middletown went out of business...go figure. Why not give us an incentive to shop, eat and park in Middletown, not a deterent. Not like I don't already pay $10,000 in taxes to a college town with (at best) mediocre schools for my kids. Time to move!

Anonymous said...

To anonymous...maybe you should make your lunch...good luck in your move...

Tree Fanatic said...

I have had an $18 ticket in West Hartford (while spending some real money there on lunch and Christmas gifts) and a $20 ticket in New Haven while attending an educational event.
In neither case was there a lack of parking. This is the way cities keep parking available to shoppers -- and it's not a new issue. If you want to go to a mall, with all that that implies, you will get free parking. If you want what cities and towns have to offer, you will pay for parking or take your chances with parking tickets.
Incidentally, I find the new Melilli Plaza system very user-friendly.

Fishmuscle (Stephen H. Devoto) said...

Ride a bicycle and park for free.

Anonymous said...

When I pay for 30 minutes on a meter, there should be 30 minutes of time. Whether my car is parked there or someone elses car is there should be irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

The new parking system is nothing but robbery. Steal your remaining minutes (should you happen to over pay), give a grace of ten minutes (barely enough time to get in and out of your car to run a quick errand), and then electronically summon the Traffic Police to write you a ticket. I refuse to use or go downtown with these tactics, all to pay for a "Director of Parking" who sole job is to make new ways to generate revenue to pay for his salary and the departments. Didn't parking downtown used to be free? People wanted to visit downtown to shop. People felt a freedom to support the stores. Now, it a war, first off how and where to park, and then watch your watch so you know how long you have been parking, and what it will cost you, and do you have to go back to feed the meter. Credit (what percentage goes to the credit processing company) of Cash?? Sorry downtown businesses, I'm walking (driving) away.........

Anonymous said...

The fiasco behind Kid City doesn't help either! I've never seen a more convoluted system in my life. If you want people to pay to park, just put the meters back and stop with the space age nonsense!

Jennifer Peifer

Anonymous said...

I have long since taken my shopping and eating habits outside of Middletown, primarily because of the insane parking requirements. Besides the resturants in Middletown are at best mediocre.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous-please go to the Parking Dept in City Hall(Basement) and ask to speak with Hearing Officer about your ticket. I completely understand your frustration. Also, please forward your concerns to the Parking Commission/Committee.

Anonymous said...

Insane? Nazis? Fiasco? come on people lets be real. take a deep breath. Like TreeFanatic says. Middletown is a city. (That *is* the incentive to shop here). All cities have to manage parking. People that complain about having to pay for parking, or what the system is - I just don't get it. There are infinite options the city could have implemented and they picked the one they felt was best. Just learn the system and get used to it and plan for it. Its really no big deal. Its only a few dollars. Or FREE- just park on College Street. There are lots of free spots in other places you just have to look for them. Three minute walk to Main Street. If parking is such a huge issue for you to be upset about you should feel lucky in life.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:38 - I'm not complaining about having to pay to park. We do live in a city, and it does generate revenue. My gripe is with the system. I don't understand how to use it, there is no one there to assist non-techy people like me, and so I run the risk of getting ticketed because I still have to park my car regardless of how lucky I'm feeling that day! It is a total fiasco as far as I'm concerned. Epic fail works too.

Jennifer Peifer

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with this post! This new parking is nonsense! And when you literally just want to stop for a minute you can't even pay for less then .50 when you use the credit card system.... so then the left over time erased?! I had no idea of that. This is more annoying than I originally thought. Its just sad that it is so discouraging to Middletown business patrons.
~Mtown Mom

otoblok said...

We must use the same parking meter technology in Istanbul. People are crazy here.