Los Angeles Parking Meters: Is This Smart Parking? - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Jeff Michael

Los Angeles Parking Meters: Is This Smart Parking?

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Let's take a minute to look outside the "white lines" of parking. New technology may make it easier to find a space, but it also is making it easier for cities to pull in a lot more cash. We've all noticed it costs more to park than it used to.

Los Angeles jumped from 25 cents an hour to a dollar. Other cities up to $2 an hour and more. We cursed the meter when we had to find quarters, then when the meters accepted credit cards, we didn't complain so much.

Interesting how we give in when offered a little convenience.

But is this "dynamic pricing" along with integrated parking sensors in Los Angeles just widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots?

If you're a professional pulling in six figures, you'll pay the $6/hour (soon to be eight, maybe ten, I'm guessing). But if you make minimum wage at a cafe and need to park for your half-day shift, that space just cost you 25% of your income. I know--it's what they call a regressive tax. Most special use fees are regressive anyway. But because it's powered by smart phones and smarter meters are we being wowed into opening our wallets, glassy-eyed at the cool factor?

Los Angeles says this is the best way to curb traffic congestion. And to be sure, it's better than being told when and where you can drive. But when do our local governments just start looking greedy?

One local city recently extended the hours for meters until midnight. Another city's smart devices won't let you re-plug the meter beyond the allotted time. You have to leave. Okay that's fair to the next guy, but the same city doesn't allow you to leave a little extra time for the next driver. Nope-- the meter zero's itself out when you pull away.

So much for paying it forward.

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