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New Parking Meters Will Keep Cars Moving

Santa Monica will add to all its meters sensors that will reset the machines after the posted time limit, preventing meter-feeding and prompting parking turnover. The city forecasts an extra $1.7 million from the system.

It will be the death of meter fairies.

Starting Monday, Santa Monica will start installing at all of the city's more than 6,000 parking meters high-tech sensors that are designed to wipe out the ability to continuously "feed" the machines.

Ground sensors will communicate wirelessly with the meters to shut off when a car has parked beyond the posted time limit and to reset when a car leaves the space.

This could make enforcement easier for the Police Department, and the city's Finance Department has forecast revenues to grow $1.7 million for the first fiscal year that the new technology, which allows drivers to pay with credit cards, is expanded across Santa Monica.

Parking meter sensors were first installed on selected blocks in downtown in March 2011 under a pilot project to replace old coin-only parking meters.

The city announced Tuesday that more sensors will be installed in the next year citywide, beginning Monday in downtown locations. Parking will be restricted for up to one day at up to 100 metered spaces per day during the installation.

"The sensors are part of the new credit-card and phone-enabled parking meters installed over the past several months," said Don Patterson, assistant director of Santa Monica's Finance Department.

The projected revenue increase will come primarily from the use of credit cards, Patterson said. "The average credit card transaction is $1.18, as compared to the average coin transaction of $0.51," he said.

The meters equipped with sensors will alert customers by displaying a message, “max time exceeded,” and will not accept further payment.

The meters "require all customers to pay for all of the time they park at the space ... encouraging the parking space to turn over," Patterson said.

“Feeding” a meter beyond the posted time limit is illegal under city codes. Violaters are subject to a $64 citation.

The new meters are solar-powered and will keep the city from throwing away more than 8,000 AA batteries a year. Customers can pay with credit card over the phone and opt to receive text messages when the meter time is about to expire, and they can remotely add more time up to the posted time limit.

Correction/clarification: An earlier version of this story stated that increased revenue would come from parking citations. City officials say revenue will grow as drivers pay with credit cards.

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Gary Pussan May 09, 2012 at 02:33 PM
ENTRAPMENT + EXTORTION = $1.7 MILLION MORE FOR THE POLITICIANS TO PLAY WITH. THE SANTA MONICA PARKING VIOLATIONS BUREAU IS ILLEGAL. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. NO REASON FOR THESE CLOWNS TO BE CIRCLING THE STREET WHERE I DO MY SHOPPING AND THEN TAX ME UNFAIRLY. THERE IS NO NEED FOR MORE ENFORCEMENT .. NEVER WAS A PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE FEEDING THE METER WHERE THEY ARE CONDUCTING COMMERCE IN OUR CITY.
Gary Pussan May 09, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Okay the City will spend $4.5 million to install new meters (I wonder who's brother in law has the contract for that? follow the money and you will see) and then the geniuses at the Financing Dept estimate $1.7 coming back in over a year. My guess is that the $4.5 million in expenses will be squandered on cronyism and the $1.7 mill in revenues will never be seen by any of the good residents and business owners in Santa Monica. What a shame that these City Officials are so corrupt that they can't get enough in excessive taxes, but now have to go deeper into my pockets with this scheme.
william rehwald May 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Ok City Now you have this Hi tech device, If you really want to help businesses and the pepole who shop there , increase the time limits say a hour, only accept the maximum credit payment and refund back to the card the unused amount( this will encourage non cash users), or better put in your card, and be billed only for the amount you use. what could be fairer than that. YOu will get more $$, but in a proper manner. DO NOT BE so heavy handed with the people you depend on (Votes and Tax revenue)
toni dragon May 09, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Thumbs down to SM planners. What else will they come up with to make SM a candidate for the City Most Unfriendly to Residents and Neighbors? Now the City is trying to get rid of or yuppify Chez Jays, a landmark eatery. Who are these planners and how do we get rid of them before they alienate locals altogether, although that may have already happened. I personally will not go to SM except to go to doctors, my bank and my pharmacy on Ocean Park (Yea Bob).
Amy J May 09, 2012 at 04:27 PM
how much is the fine for one these tickets these days? like $25? $50? do you think if you just move your car forward and backwards in the same spot it will "reset" the sensors?
marcopolo May 09, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Ew. This is gross. What if you are in a business meeting, nothing more unprofessional than not only excusing yourself to go feed a meter, except maybe, you know, having to circle around looking for a new space while your meeting waits. Santa Monica is so fubar in the way they do things.
Disgusted May 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Unbelievable! Crooks to the max. Couldn't be more obvious the politicians are finding more ways to line their pockets every day. People will stop coming to SM - maybe that's a good thing for those who live here and can't even park in our own neighborhood without being fined or having to pay for a permit to park on our street something that has been free and not dictated by greedy politicians for 100's of years. Who gave them permission in the first place to allow meters, it sure as hell wasn't the majority of those that live here in Santa Monica or run a business in SM.
roxana May 09, 2012 at 05:50 PM
this sucks. why does santa monica make it so hard to love it. for tourists, businesses and residents. what a bad stupid idea!
B. Stone May 09, 2012 at 06:03 PM
B. Stone I am a SM resident who used to shop downtown and on Montana. Due to the parking and congestion,I just stopped doing so. Now, regretably I will further restrict my shopping. Is no one thinking? How can you keep on TAXING people, and expect them to tolerate this? Hmmmm "No taxation without representation" or, "Live free or die"..........I guess I need to move to New England, New Hampshire has no state income tax.................
Jenna Chandler (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I've updated this story with additional information from the Don Patterson of the city's finance department, who says the additional revenues will come primarily from drivers paying with credit cards. He says the average credit card transaction is $1.18, as compared to the average coin transaction of $0.51.
David Yuguchi May 09, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Was this a City Council decision?
Paul Rich May 09, 2012 at 07:33 PM
"Look closely at your elected officials, people. As Bugs Bunny so often exclaimed: "This means war!" They'll get us at the meter. We'll get them at the ballot box.
oboogie May 09, 2012 at 08:44 PM
this is a very bad idea. it will further aggrevate an already bad situation. rather than finding a way to add more free or inexpensive parking in and around downtown santa monica, the powers to be find a way to make the parking situation worse, encourage people to leave quicker or be fined and pressure people to find a parking space twice instead of just once. it's another case of greed prevailing over common sense or making people's lives more tolerable. name the name of the people who approved this. it will help us get rid of these people in the next election!
SK May 09, 2012 at 08:55 PM
So Don supports the "overpaying" of parking? what, to justify his salary?? Gas is $4.50 a gallon, but really, who cares, just make sure the city of SM gets their over-priced cut. Prediction: look for the fights/arrests/lawsuits/court time spent from drivers pulling their cars out to beat the sensors and then backing again while someone else is trying to move their car to avoid the ticket. I will hazard a guess that Don and company have reserved parking, so of course they will not have to go through the musical chair parking game. Go find a new job, Don, maybe Turbo-Tax Timmy Geithner can use his talents in D.C. BTW, I may be mistaken on this, but I believe it is a law that if your car is moved even one inch during a timed parking segment, the time-clock starts again. I live on a street in Santa Monica where some goofball had four cars that he "rotated" this way to avoid tickets. I had several conversations with the parking control officers on this issue. I am not sure what the laws are governing paid parking spaces, but anyone with more free time than me should research this -this whole scam may be illegal. I would do it, but unfortunately I have to work more hours to pay for my SM parking!
scott womer May 09, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Liberal agenda at work in city council. This will never stop until every merchant is forced out of business one way or another. Why would people come here? We pay higher sales tax than anyplace in LA county, we have ridiculous parking fees, you can't even throw a frisbee on the beach.. oh and now the work is starting on banning paper bags because we don't want to encourage anyone from buying too much at all once. Seriously, this is happening people.
JM May 09, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Agree with all of the above. I live and work here. I already pay too much in parking while at work ($9/day), and listen to customers say that they aren't coming back to Santa Monica because our parking is difficult, expensive and our tax is higher than our neighbor cities. I just don't get it. The City promotes tourism all of the time while making tourists miserable.
Chaz May 09, 2012 at 11:32 PM
And how much is it going to cost the city to install these all over town? Really smart thinking.
Claudia Schafer May 10, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Is anyone subtracting the cost per transaction that credit cards charge? Oh yeah - and how about the reason those credit card transactions are higher is that there is a $1.00 minimum to use a card. No one pays more than they need to of their own volition. How many crap-filled ideas can one city council come up with in one year!!
Carc May 10, 2012 at 05:56 AM
Man you all are are bunch of cranky whiners... Yes the city works hard to generate revenue - and compare sm's balance sheet to the city of la's dismal finances. The two hr limit is kind of annoying - because the parking should just be priced high enough so that a percentage of spaces are always available.
Jean Hulse May 10, 2012 at 03:17 PM
The sales tax within the city is higher than ANYWHERE in the State of California. They are always promoting "SHOP LOCAL" and everything is about dollars and more dollars. We need to keep Shriver and McKeown and get rid of the rest of the council who are all taking money from the developers who want to overrun our city. After living here 50+ years, let's go back to the old days when Santa Monica was a lovely place to live, work, and recreate.
Barrett Meeker May 10, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I actually think this makes sense, I always thought the whole point of parking meters were to keep people from parking there for longer than the allowed time. I also agree though that the parking situation is horrible. I think the solution is to stop using the money from parking enforcement, tickets meters etc. to pay for more enforcement. Enforcement of laws and regulations should happen regardless of how much money that enforcement brings in. Then take ALL the money that the city gets from meters and tickets and put all of that money into making more parking structure etc. The more money a city is making off parking tickets the more of a parking problem they have, they need to spend that money on fixing the problem, more enforcement doesn't fix anything.
Claudia Schafer May 13, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Say HI to the Captain;-D
Claudia Schafer May 13, 2012 at 03:06 AM
It's probably time to rename this place Stick-it-to-ya Monica - because no Saint would treat her people so poorly.
greyeyed girl May 15, 2012 at 07:59 AM
For the state to allow the city to blow 5 million dollars on these meters, not to mention installation costs...no wonder the state has a 16 billion deficit. Local Merchants will loose big time. I know for myself, I will not patronize any establishment where parking is an issue. Imagine being out to dinner, a club etc and get hit with a ticket on top of the cost of your evening out? This asinine state is becoming more anti everything by the minute!
Claudia Schafer May 17, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Exactly whom does Don think he's fooling!?! That would be due to the fact that there is a $1.00 minimum on credit card meter transactions. That means that if you only need to do a 15min errand - it's going to cost you 4x as much as you need. Then when you move your car, the sensors reset the meter so that the next sucker has to pump in another $1.00. Don can try to spin from now until Kingdom come - we ain't buyin' what he's trying to sell.
Gary Pussan May 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
The City of Santa Monica is extorting money from its good citizens and then using that money to hire more parking meter maids, so that they can extort more money from us. Enough is enough. There seems to be a "war on cars" in Santa Monica. Stop Signs going up everywhere. Two lanes being turned into one lane ... happening everywhere. Parking Meters being upgraded with technology to notify the Parking Enforcement the second your meter goes over so they can race over there to give you a $64 ticket. Meter maids now on foot so you can't even see them coming. I have a business on Ocean Avenue and my clients are afraid to come to my office because of the corrupt parking violations bureau that circle my block like sharks. This is not necessary and illegal.
Gary Pussan May 17, 2012 at 08:00 PM
The Speed Limit is 65 mph. If I drive 80 mph everyday, I might get a ticket once or twice a year. Compare that to an Expired Meter. If I let my meter go over the limit by 15 minutes everyday, I will probably get 300 tickets a year. The point is that Parking Enforcement is being pursued more diligently then Speeding. There is no public need for this. The public is not being served.
gracechan July 11, 2012 at 11:57 PM
If these new meters take credit cards, won't that mean the city will have to start paying transaction fees? I just recently allowed my business to start accepting credit cards and now one of my biggest costs is the transaction fee to run the card (and it's one of the better rates: http://www.merchantaccount.net/ ) - I wonder how this is going to change the parking ecosystem of Santa Monica.
Nancy Washburn Lee January 21, 2014 at 12:32 AM
Beware of the meters that "re-set". The meters for head-in parking (not parrell) will reset when the car in the next spot pulls out. Many of these meters are installed away from the curb and will re-set when large carts move along the side walk. The city knows about this problem, yet continues to issue tickets. A citixens only recourse is to contest each ticket. Who wants to join up on class action suit?
Paul Rich February 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Class action could be the only way to go other than voting in legislators who understand that there are smarter ways to increase city revenue than their parking meter ATM machine.

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