HAVE A CUP OF JOE WITH JOE – Broken Parking Meters

During these self isolating days, I figure it is a good time to play Pet Peeves!

One of my pet peeves is those stupid stickers the City of Windsor has put on all city parking meters warning that it is a “violation” to park at a broken meter. I believe this came into force several years back when there was an unusually high number of malfunctioning meters on streets close to the University of Windsor area. If I was a cynical kind of person, I think a certain level of students were being profiled for these broken meters.

The front of a Windsor parking meter.

What perturbs me is these pasted on notices are in disrepair and a real eye sore. And nothing says “welcome to our city” for visitors more than these ridiculous notices.

Has anyone seen these or similar notices in other cities during your travels? I have not.

So, you stop in downtown to shop or pick up takeout (or dine when COVID-19 restrictions are removed) and all you have are two loonies in your pocket. (note: I rarely, if ever, carry loose change in my pocket or wallet!)

You put the coins in the meter and …nothing, notta, you have been had. You are at a broken meter and you cannot park there now. So, you must find another meter, hope it is not broken too — but wait, your last two loonies are now in the broken meter. Grrrrr… Think about it, you do not know you are parking at a broken meter until you have paid the meter — and then it is too late.

At least, in the old days, if you were lucky enough to occasionally score a broken meter, you could use it, but do so with a note attached to the meter or your windshield that the meter was broken. This way the city became aware it was broken and could fix it.

BUT … what bothers me even more is where the city has posted the hours of parking meter enforcement. Anyone know? Maybe on the parking signs? That would be a nice idea. But, no!
OK, how about a small sign strapped to the meter post? I have seen that in other cities. Again, nooo!

Glass that fogs up during rain and cold weather, making it nearly impossible to read…as you can tell by how unclear this photo is!

The hours of meter enforcement are located inside the road facing side of the meter at the bottom in small font, behind glass that fogs up during rain and cold weather, making it nearly impossible to read.

If you didn’t know better, you would think the city did their darndest to hide the parking meter enforcement hours of operation, knowing that if people could not readily find them, they would pay the meter on Sundays, or after 6 p.m., etc., not willing to risk a $20 ticket.

During my morning walks I have stopped many people from feeding the meter for parking on Erie near Ouellette at 7:30 a.m. These are people who were heading in before work to see friends or relatives in hospital — perhaps to assist them with breakfast. They did not know the hours of meter enforcement.

[BTW … I complained to a city councillor about this, asking him to bring it up as a council question two years ago … he said he would get back to me. Not…]

My solution to this pet peeve for me is the smartphone app, PASSPORT. You enroll in this program and you can pay your meter, or your municipal garage or parking lot from the comfort of your vehicle. And it will allow you to add additional time if your shopping or eating has taken you longer than expected. It sends you a notification to your phone when you near the end of your scheduled time. And there is no need to place anything on your windshield or dashboard and they email you a receipt which is handy for those who claim parking as an expense.

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