The Parking Meter Controversy of 1932


All over the world, cities are considering London's congestion pricing and traffic control and facing vociferous opposition. The Wall Street Journal notes that in the early thirties, there was chaos in the streets: "Employees of downtown businesses hogged spaces for whole days; some merchants deliberately parked their cars in front of competitors' stores. Other drivers circled the narrow streets waiting for a rare free space. Trucks loading or unloading double-parked. In most cities, there were no marks on curbs to delineate spaces. In the few timed spaces, enforcement by chalking the tires was easy to beat. And the art of parallel parking was in its infancy."

In 1935 when the first meters were installed in Oklahoma City, "drivers believed that charging for parking was downright un-American. The "newfangled nuisances," opponents said, illegally infringed on the individual's right to free use of the public streets. They amounted to a tax on automobiles, depriving owners of their property without due process."

Sounds awfully familiar. ::Streetsblog

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