Don’t hunt for a parking meter that has time left. It doesn’t work that way anymore.
West Palm’s 200 smart meters have sensors that identify the arrival and departure of each car. When a car pulls out, the meter resets to zero.
That’s now good news for the city’s homeless population, though. By vote of the city commission Monday, the value of leftover meter time will be contributed to homelessness initiatives of the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
According to Parking System Administrator Ed Davis, from April 2016 to May 2018 the meters recovered time left 24,449 times out of 40,752 resets. That left 7,178 hours and 19 minutes of “recovered time.” The first transfer amounted to $12,456, he said.
“We continue to make improvements to parking, inclusive of the installation of more smart meters,” Davis said. “While the technology is helpful to build in more accuracy and efficiency in our parking systems, we did not want people to lose the opportunity to ‘pay-it-forward.’ City residents and visitors can now be assured that any recaptured time will be put to good use and stay right here in our community.”
The city has a few special orange meters planted downtown for people to donate to homelessness initiatives but few people give, Davis said.
The idea to help the homeless through leftover time evolved from public comments, which Davis fields a lot of, positive and negative.
Some people told him they leave time on the meters to benefit the next person. "I took that with a grain of salt but it did make me think," he said.
"I talked to staff and this is what we came up with."