Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 20, 2013

Editorial: Fix backward meters first


---- — Before Traverse City goes to the trouble of making its parking meters cellphone-friendly, it ought to invest a little effort to make them driver-friendly.

A simple twist of a wrench could help motorists who still plunk coins from having to step into the slush along the curb or risk a fall while feeding or reading a meter.

For some unknown reason the city's parking meters are backward. The side with the coin slot and the readout that tells you how much you've put in and how much time you have left faces the street, not the sidewalk.

So to work the meter, a driver has to stand between it and the curb or step down into the street. In some places it's just an inconvenience; where the meter is close to the curb, you have to either swing around it or step into the street.

It just doesn't make sense. Why not let meter users stand safely on the sidewalk to buy or check their time? One of these days, someone is going to slip off an icy curb and break an ankle or worse.

The new cell phone application would be handy. Users would need to set up an account with Parkmobile USA using a credit card and download a free phone application. Users would pay a 35-cent surcharge on top of the cost of buying time.

Why the city has gone out of its way to make it difficult for drivers to use the meters is a mystery. How hard can a fix be?