August 21, 2013

“My Word Against a Machine”: A Complaint About Defective Parking Meters Downtown

To the Editor:

Princeton deserves a better parking meter service. On Tuesday I drove to the post office. There were many open parking spaces as it was in the morning. Naturally I looked for a meter that had some time left on it as I knew I was only going to be less than three minutes since I was merely picking up my mail from my box. I found a perfect spot in front of the steps leading up to the post office behind the Nassau Inn. The meter I found had nine minutes left on the clock and the one behind had 10 minutes. Perfect, I thought. I walked the short distance to the post office opened my box, got my mail and walked the short distance back. This trip took less than three minutes but what did I see? The parking officer driving away from my car. I knew it could not be a ticket as I was confident I had more time, however when I got to my car I saw that not only had the meter expired but the one behind it as well, and I had a ticket. These two meters are defective as there is no way my chore could have taken nine minutes. These meters are so outdated we need a system whereby we get receipts that we put on our dashboards showing the exact time of expirations. This system is used throughout many towns across New Jersey and the rest of the country. Relying on meters to be accurate is not fair to drivers. I am going to contest this fine but in the end it’s my word against a machine that has probably not been independently tested for years.

Joe Cauchi

North Harrison Street