Ever absent-mindedly put money in a parking meter only to discover later that meter hours were over and you could have parked in the space for free?

Well, that won’t be a problem with new parking meters being installed in Evanston.

Parking Division Manager Rickey Voss says the four new pay-and-display boxes the City Council voted to buy Monday night won’t accept money when parking is supposed to be free.

On the Labor Day holiday this month, this pay-and-display box on Clark Street still asked for money on its digital display, but if you missed the small print about the holiday on the sticker, it would have given you your money back, Voss says.

That’s also true, Voss says, of the existing pay-and-display boxes in town, and the newest conventional parking meters that take credit cards for payment.

Two of the new meters that take credit cards on Sherman Avenue near Grove Street.

And lest you think that nobody could make such a stupid mistake, an analysis in Ann Arbor, where the new machines aren’t programmed to reject off-hours payments, found that they took in $35,000 last year from people who shouldn’t have needed to feed them.

Of course the old-style meters still in place across most of Evanston don’t have the smarts to reject money fed them during off hours. There’s no telling how much they may be raking in from absent-minded or overly-cautious drivers.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Good

    Good job.These are the decisions the city council should be making, not the decions that spend 2m for a parking lot that will benefit a private business.

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