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Technological Parking Meters Manifest Statist Mindset
by Frederick Meekins
12/27/08
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One of the simple delights in the age of vehicular travel is coming across an empty parking space that still has time on the meter. Since the beast --- namely the municipalities obtaining revenue from the meter --- is still getting the amount of money it is due whether the spot is occupied by one or two cars in the purchased amount of time, one would think the taxmasters wouldn't care and simply let the lucky motorist enjoy one of the few pleasures remaining in our increasingly bleak and overcontrolled world.

However, it seems that technology is being used once more to tighten the noose of government around the neck of the law abiding citizen.

According to a Washington Post story titled “Meters Deny Parking Handouts“, a number of companies are developing devices sensitive enough to reset themselves once they detect that the space is no longer occupied. Instead of harassing motorists, perhaps these tech-heads should turn their sophisticated detection sensors towards securing America's border.

Especially revealing is the statist mentality of those supporting these Cylon parking meters (it's a wonder they don't have that little red light pulsating back and forth). The chief executive of IntelliPark (one of these companies out to get rich dreaming up new ways to further curtail human liberty) told the Washington Post, "You take away that free lunch, but on the other hand that's tax revenue."

If the primary concern here is that no one should get a "free lunch", wouldn't research efforts be better directed towards not developing a meter that resets itself as soon as a vehicle pulls away but rather makes change from the unused time?

"Why you skin-flint Conservative or tight-fisted Libertarian, how miserly of you to want back a few messily cents.” If we are to happily relinquish what is rightfully ours simply because it is just a few mere cents, just see what happens should you skimp on your IRS tax bill by the same amount.

If we are to view the motorist sneaking onto a spot where the meter has not yet run out of time as taking something out of the coffers of the state, why shouldn’t we cast the same glare of disapproval upon the state for pocketing a profit from time in which it’s space is not leased?

After all, to whom does the coinage for the unused time ultimately belong? For does it not actually belong to the original motorist that has since driven off?

Thus, it is the state (not the driver “sneaking” into the space) that is actually the small scale thief. Shouldn’t technology allow the original motorist to decide who gets to keep the change?

by Frederick Meekins



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Holly Westefeld 22 Jan 2009
It is an intriguing idea to have parking meters paid only for the exact time one has been parked, but I submit that it could be a challenge to implement. If it were to give actual change, how would the meter know to whom the change is due? What would prevent someone from pressing the button for change, collecting it, and leaving someone else's vehicle parked with no time left on the meter? A system might be possible with a debit or credit card, scanned at the beginning and end of the space's use, but what would happen if the driver, for some reason, neglected to scan before leaving. Perhaps something already in place such as automated toll payment systems could be used, but the angle would have to be precise, so passing vehicles would not be billed. I enjoyed your sharp wit in this article.




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