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Berkeley Auto Repair

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A Brief History of the Parking Meter

​​Whether you live in a populated city or you're just visiting one, chances are you're probably going to end up digging for coins to fish to a parking meter. This is the last thing you want to be doing is to be welcomed with a parking ticket on the way back to your car. You might wonder who was cruel enough to invent such a thing anyway. When and why did the parking meter come to be?


In 1935, a guy by the name of Carl C. Magee established the history of the first paid parking meter and originally called it the "Park-O-Meter." Magee had migrated from New Mexico and relocated to Oklahoma City in 1927. His occupation was in news reporting in Oklahoma City. During this time, growing urban cities experienced a lack of public parking, and Oklahoma City was no exception. He proposed a solution in the form of the Park-O-Meter, and the town accepted. They began installing Park-O-Meter on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue. The parking meter cost $0.05 an hour and was placed at intervals of 20 feet. 


The Park-O-Meter has mixed reviews. The city officials praised the Park-O-Meter and justified it as an efficient way to limit the number of cars allowed to reside on the street and to reduce traffic congestion. On the other hand, drivers were not happy to be faced with parking fees. People were furious and claimed the parking meters were just a money-making scheme for the city. Some motorists even went as far as suing their cities over parking charges. Unfortunately, the local governments won the bulk of the lawsuits. The states deemed the parking meters legitimate and valid at regulating the flow of traffic.


Variations of the parking meter have lived through multiple decades and are undoubtedly here to stay. By the 1940s, cities placed over 100,000 units of parking meters across the US. Some US cities even started testing with additional alternatives and upgrades to the conventional parking meter. As modern technology evolved, you can now find most parking meters with credit card slots. With this form of payment, it'll ease the pain for those of us who don't carry cash and change on hand. Technology has progressed even more and enabled drivers to find, reserve, and pay for their parking ahead of time through mobile applications. Parking meters, though annoying, do support managing the flow of traffic. While these bothersome operations can make a dent in your pockets, a few coins are always better than a hefty parking fine. 


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