Don’t Take It Out on the Meters


Don’t Take It Out on the Meters

A 30-cent per hour increase in parking meter prices in Southwest Washington, D.C. has allegedly incited acts of vandalism against meters in the area. According to, the higher prices have made parking more difficult in an already congested neighborhood. The vandalism is seen as retaliation. It has drawn attention because of widespread destruction of meters during the middle 1990s when more than 3,000 meters were smashed to pieces. Those incidents cost the city millions.

While some residents voiced disdain over what they perceived as predatory increases in parking and speeding fees, others are concerned that the city is witnessing the beginning of public service-related acts of destruction – reminiscent of those in the 1990s that cost the city roughly $500,000 a month in lost revenue.

Whose to say these recent events are in response to meter increases or just random theft? But the destruction of parking meters is a bad sign. Either criminals have reached a high level of comfort stealing in public; or people are genuinely so upset about parking rates that they are taking it out on city property.

Whenever there is a change in the cost of parking, it’s a good idea to provide publicity that includes something like a 24-hour complaint hotline or a large suggestion box placed in a central location. People need an outlet for their angst when public policy affects them in ways they feel are negative. Social media has everyone feeling more committed to their right to be validated, so before meters start going down, give residents an official opportunity to vent. Being heard does a lot to dispel anger.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

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