To the Observer:
January's Up Front featured a piece on the new parking meters ("Coin Power") that neglected to mention the biggest drawback to the solar-powered contraptions-they lack the ability to donate your unused time to the next driver. Old parking meters did the trick just fine. This was one of the good things about meter parking. Without any notice, the new meter expires when you leave the parking space-whether you have five or fifteen or fifty minutes left on the meter-resulting in a windfall for the city and or whoever else makes money on parking. On one or two occasions I have seen receipts taped to the space marker for the next driver to use, but this will not likely catch on unless everyone carries a roll of tape with them. Maybe the city should add tape dispensers to the pay stations.
[Originally published in January, 2013.]