Time's Almost Up for New York's Parking Meters

On Monday, Manhattan's last traditional parking meters will be uprooted and replaced by a sleek, solar-powered machine. This article contains a brief look back at the joys and pains of the meter as well as a glimpse forward.
September 19, 2011, 5am PDT | Judy Chang
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"The city's Transportation Department, which recently accelerated its meter retirement program, says the change will benefit city and citizen alike: the new meters read credit cards, speak seven languages, require less maintenance, and free up room on the sidewalk.

But the death of the classic meter also means an end to some of New York's smaller pleasures: the satisfying clunk of a coin in its slot, the illicit thrill of finding an extra few minutes still counting down.

'We're losing the driver's version of a lottery ticket,' said Samuel I. Schwartz, a former city traffic engineer and transportation commissioner.

'Pulling up to a single-space meter and discovering there was 30 minutes on it from the previous owner - what a joy that was! Even if it was only saving you a dime, somehow it made my day.'"

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Published on Sunday, September 18, 2011 in New York Times
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