December 2007: Parking in Los Angeles can sometimes be unpleasant, especially when after trying your best; you still end up with an expensive citation. New parking meters are being installed to minimize the hassles, and hopefully reduce violations.
The new meters feature new technology which decreases vandalism; facilitates monitoring and enforcement; and helps drivers find parking without literally breaking open their piggy banks.
The city will initially replace 6,000 of its 40,000 meters by next spring. The remainder will be replaced pending a successful trial period. Several different meters will serve different applications. The Duncan VM multi-space meter (above) debuted at a parking lot in North Hollywood.
Two of these pay stations replaced dozens of individual meters. Patrons can pay by coin; credit or debit card; or using their cell phones. Cell phone payment is the most intriguing. After registration, patrons would be notified electronically when time is expiring on the initial payment. It then gives them the option to make additional payments without returning to the lot.
These meters also send signals to parking enforcement personnel via wireless transmitters. Patrolling officers can tell from inside their vehicles if anyone in the lot is in violation, allowing them to monitor a greater number of parking spaces.
Unfortunately, these particular machines do not accept paper currency. However future models will offer this and other capabilities. The new meters have proven successful in other metropolitan areas, and consumer feedback is favorable.
Look for new meters throughout Los Angeles, with the following caveat: follow parking guidelines posted on signs. Many parkers focus excessively on meter credit and ignore prohibitions for street cleaning, etc.