Parking meters rate high on the list of the public’s pet peeves. Our mail regularly includes readers’ anecdotes about parking tickets and balky meters – and more than a few vows to steer clear of downtown Santa Rosa. Regular readers of The Press Democrat’s editorial page know that we’re not fans of parking meters either, and today I’ll take the opportunity to gripe.
My pique is with Sonoma State University. It’s not so much the $5 flat fee recently imposed for parking on campus, it’s the parking kiosks, which in my experience are even less reliable than Santa Rosa’s. This afternoon, as has all too frequently been my experience on campus, I tried multiple parking lots and couldn’t find a machine that would read my debit card. Tired of error, try again messages, I drove to an off-campus convenience store to get change. I should have paid better attention — my $5 bill wasn’t a crisp, new one fresh from the U.S. Bureau Printing and Engraving. It took several more tries in a couple of parking lots before I found a machine willing to accept my well-circulated $5 bill.
Memo to the university: When you picked your machines, presumably via competitive bids, was the vendor required to guarantee some level of reliability? The answer is no, or you got taken.
I wonder how many people give up, or stopped accepting invitations to speak on campus?
I’m glad I didn’t. The political science students I met today were bright and inquisitive.
And they hate the parking meters too.
– Jim Sweeney