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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Calling Cool Hand Luke

San Francisco is now added with Oklahoma City to my Downtowns of Infamy list. O.C. is where the parking meter was introduced back in 1935. And S.F. has come up with the latest innovation for that evil contraption:

That little love bubble known as San Francisco is at it again, introducing new "smart" parking meters that, among their many innovations, change their prices based on supply and demand.

The meters will accept credit cards. You will also be able to look for an open parking space using your computer or smartphone. Data on parking availability will also be available via 511, text messaging, signs, and new electronic display signs at high-volume spots throughout San Fran.

As for the price fluctuation, the website says prices will never change more than 50 cents at a time, and never more than once a month.

"50 cents at a time" -- is that per day, per hour, per first 15 minutes? And wouldn't it make more sense to adjust the price daily or even hourly to truly reflect current supply and demand? It always has been tough to be smarter than the parking meter -- I hardly ever had the right change in the right denomination so I always ended up paying more than I needed to or had to hurry back too soon while worrying about a ticket. Now, I'm afraid, even the parking meter is going to be smarter than me. (Yeah, yeah, I hear you)

I'm not saying I don't understand the purpose and practicality of the parking meter. Intellectually, I can even appreciate the way it keeps downtowns a little less clogged. I don't have to like them, though.