Another example of innovative application of existing technology.
Parking meters, originally designed to provide more parking opportunities in front of merchant establishments, has morphed into big business. For the municipalities who have an additional source of revenue without the hassle of declaring it a tax on transportation, who profit greatly from transgressions resulting in large fines, and allowing the support of a large politically-motivated union-dominated in-house administrative bureaucracy. For the outsourcing private contractors who supply meters and management services ranging from collections, credit card processing, and other administration activities to municipalities.
And, now we can observe some “out of the box” thinking as charities realize the monetary potential of re-purposing parking meters for specific charitable purposes. While some see these as little more than automated panhandlers, others see an alternative method of charitable donations that link a collection point with an observable need.
Every time I pass the West Los Angeles Parking Enforcement facility (officially named the Henry Medina Building after the first traffic officer in the history of the city's Department of Transportation to die of injuries sustained in the line of duty) which is shaped like a parking meter, I cannot help but realize what big business parking enforcement has become.