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Minneapolis Upgrading Parking Meters


A couple of days back I tossed out a suggestion to help Minneapolis meet its budget shortfall. Turns out our City Overlords are working in the oppostie direction:

Preparing for an overhaul of its almost 7,000 aging parking meters, the city is testing new technology to choose a replacement model. Six types of meters were installed this month at six sites throughout Minneapolis — including two around Downtown — and the city is collecting user feedback.

Each of the options promises to be an upgrade to current meters. Many are programmable, meaning a different rate could be charged for different times. Some also will be able to warn of peak periods, alerting drivers of upcoming tow-away times. All but one option accept credit cards on top of quarters.

The concept of variable pricing is worth exploring. Demand for on-street parking fluctuates widely. And those spots on the street are usually underpriced. They’re so cheap that a significant portion of downtown traffic is just people circling blocks looking for a parking space.

There is money to be made through better allocation of parking resources. Does anyone trust government to do it right?