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Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017 12:16 am

Letters to the Editor 8/3/17

 

SOLAR PARKING METERS

Thank you Bruce Rushton, for your excellent article on parking, including the Decatur idea, worth considering, of yanking all the parking meters. [See “Time expired?” July 20.]

One of the biggest problems with parking meters is they make you guess how long you’ll be gone and then insert the money for that time. But no one can predict the future, and even buying more time remotely through a cellphone app could be unwieldy. If you’re in the middle of an important meeting that lasts longer than expected, do you really want to pull out your cellphone and start typing away while your counterpart is talking to you about a new job or lucrative contract? Even if you’re not in such a high-level meeting, why should you have to worry about plugging your meter remotely while you’re trying to have a relaxing lunch away from the stress of work?

I just got back from Charleston, South Carolina, which has instituted a parking meter system that solves this problem and uses solar technology to boot. Charleston’s solar-powered meters with a backup battery accept coins or a Smart Card you buy for a one-time charge of $5 and add time at the rate of $1 for 60 minutes. With the Smart Card, you put the maximum time on the meter and then when you return, simply reinsert the card, and your unused time is refunded.

Charleston is currently upgrading its meters to accept credit/debit cards and send information into the cloud as to whether the battery is low or a car is parked in the space. This information could be used to create an app, letting parkers know where the empty spaces are.

Charleston is buying its upgraded parking meters for $395 each and a $5.50 monthly service charge for the software from Civic Smart Duncan, a merger of a smart technology innovator and a parking company.

Charleston initiated the upgraded meters with a pilot program earlier this year on its historic Broad Street. It worked out the kinks and expects to have the upgraded meters installed citywide by September.

Mayor Jim Langfelder says he wants to implement solar technology in our city. Adopting the smart solar parking meters, would enable our mayor to implement solar and create an innovative solution to our parking problem, all in one fell swoop.

Sam Cahnman
Springfield



STREET SAVVY

This is in response to “Time expired?,” by Bruce Rushton, July 20.

I must say I do enjoy a good parking meter. I enjoy the dead ones, too. I enjoy pulling into work just before 9 on a hot July day and parallel parking well, with gusto, in a space that is visible from my office. I enjoy having remembered to have gone to the bank to get rolls of quarters, and having been able to have knocked that roll open and feel the weight of George Washington quarters. Sometimes, when I put a quarter in a downtown meter, I’m taken back to my childhood and feel like a gumball will be released. Other times, I realize that I’m no longer in Europe; euros are too big for the parking meters.

My point is that parking meters require know-how, and as I start up in downtown Springfield, I feel savvy. My favorite meters are the blue ones that are dead or have a quarter stuck in them.

Quarters are heavy and come in rolls at your local bank. Blue meters are two-hour parking. And no one ever checks the meters by Chase.

Elizabeth Farrar
Innovate Springfield



RED LIGHT ON A GREEN THUMB

I live on South Amos. I was so angered that the city is going after Mr. Jones (“Going fishing on Governor,” by Bruce Rushton, July 27). When you talk to him, he does everything nature would provide. However, I expected this from the city. I’m just surprised it took this long.

The bottom line to me is the longstanding “green monster” jealousy. Why? Because anyone that has a complaint is upset because they didn’t have the wherewithal to think of it first. What you did miss was that his plants (cactus, etc.) come from the throwaway from Washington Park. Talk about recycling!

It makes me sick. This whole country is made of people being greedy and jealous and can’t take honest hardworking people.

Linda Grimes
Springfield

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