Meter Feeders No More?

So according to an article in today’s WaPo, the District is looking to stop ‘meter feeders’ who plague our fair capital’s streets. With ‘mobile camera eyes’ that frankly, to me look more like a Terminator’s pre-proto prototype. (And yes, I just watched T3 the other day. I’ve got advanced AI on the brain, along with three different game designs at the moment.)

Ok, so I’ll admit it. I was one of the ‘scofflaws’ they’re trying to bust. But only occasionally! As in, “only when I worked a half-day” did I even attempt navigating the parking lot known as I-395N to park in town. With garage fees at a near-insane level of $15-20 for weekday parking, feeding a meter for six hours (to the tune of $6) was a no-brainer. Especially if I landed a spot right in front of my building, which cut down on the “I need to feed the meter” interruptions during my daily work routine. So yeah, I admit I’m a scofflaw – though I never pulled the old “meter broken” trick. I always paid.

But I don’t do that anymore – since I work in Vienna. Where parking is free.

Still, I have to wonder – what about tourists who come to town and street-park. They feed meters, too. Especially along Smithsonian Row. Will the Parking Police patrol there with their mobile camera masters? Or will they train their future conquerors (I’m sorry, I’m still stuck in sci-fi mode) to discern between VA/MD/DC plates and the rest of the country? If they enforce this, are they going to be uniform across the city in doing so, or will they only focus on certain areas? And is that really ‘fair’?

I don’t know. I want to say “all right!” to this program, simply because it makes sense, especially for those residents and shop owners downtown. I know *I’d* be ecstatic about it if I had a shop in DC and consistently saw obvious commuter parking taking up valuable customer real estate. But on the flip-side, it just seems…an excessive waste in the approach? I remember back in my college days at NIU, the parking militia there used chalk sticks to mark car tires to see if the car had moved from a ‘timed’ spot (such as a “one hour max” zone). Is that really so hard here? For a city that looks to have some serious budgetary issues at times, I dunno, it just makes better fiscal sense to me. Chalk vs. expensive mobile scanning platforms…. Tough choice.

Maybe I’m just terrified these Mobile Parking Cameras are going to go sentient and blow up the world somehow….

We’re sorry, we’ve temporarily removed the author to a Starbucks location nearby, where he’ll receive the proper caffeine hydration and get these silly sci-fi notions out of his head. *As if* robots are going to someday war with humanity….

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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