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Posted on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Should Ann Arbor take steps to stop people from paying parking meters after hours?

By Ryan J. Stanton


Soon Bae, left, who was visiting from New York on Wednesday night, was about to pay to park on the street shortly after 6:30 p.m. before a woman standing nearby intervened and told her parking was free after 6 p.m.

Ryan J. Stanton |

On a recent trip back to his home state, Michigan native Avish Bhama met up with friends for dinner in downtown Ann Arbor and made the mistake of paying for parking after 6 p.m.

Parking on the street downtown is free in the evenings, but the entrepreneur who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area a few years ago didn't realize that.

He found out later that he fed the meter for no reason.

"Basically in San Francisco, the way the meter system works," Bhama said, "if you put money into it after the hours of operation, the meter system will basically spit your money out and say, 'No, you don't need to pay — it's compliments of the city,' because at this time it's free parking."

Bhama said he thinks Ann Arbor's new and advanced electronic pay stations, which are solar-powered, should be reprogrammed to offer the same conveniences.

He acknowledged he overlooked a sticker on the pay station indicating the hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. But he said he and many others are walking proof that it's possible to miss, and he thinks a better solution can be found in reprogramming the machines.


Digital Payment Technologies, the Canadian company that makes the e-pay stations used in Ann Arbor, said its machines are able to be programmed to display a customized welcome screen message stating just about anything, including the hours of operation. They also can be programmed so they won't accept money at all during certain hours.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"One of the things the residents of Ann Arbor might not know is there is software out there that exists for these parking meters to save the commuters money," he said. "But it struck me that the city doesn't have any incentive to do that because, in exchange for doing that, they would be turning down a lot of revenue."

Digital Payment Technologies, the Canadian company that makes the e-pay stations used in Ann Arbor, says its machines are able to be programmed to display a customized welcome screen message stating just about anything, including the hours of operation.

The company said the hours when payments will be accepted also can be programmed in such a way that the machines won't accept money at all during certain hours.

The Downtown Development Authority manages about 1,700 on-street metered parking spaces on behalf of the city of Ann Arbor.

Hypothetically, if each of those spaces averaged just one extra quarter per day that people paid when they shouldn't have, that's nearly $155,000 a year in unnecessary payments. The actual number could be higher or lower than that — DDA officials didn't have figures available.

DDA board member Joan Lowenstein said it's possible the extra nickels, dimes and quarters add up to six figures.

"Even with the actual parking meters that clearly state on there that it's only until six o'clock and not on Sunday, you see people putting coins in there after six, and you see people putting coins in there on Sunday," she said.

But it's not an issue the DDA has discussed much.

"We haven't considered it a problem, and no one has talked to us about it being a problem, so it really isn't anything that has come up," Lowenstein said.

Mayor John Hieftje said he likes Bhama's idea and thinks the impact on the budgets of the city and the DDA would be minimal if the pay stations were reprogrammed.

"I can't imagine that adds up to very much," he said.


Nolan McCann, who went to the Mani restaurant Wednesday night, parked on Main Street just before enforcement hours ended and put just enough change in to last him until 6 p.m. He said he had to look closely to notice the sticker showing the hours of operation. "I don't know if it's particularly clear," he said.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The Digital Payment Technologies website boasts that its e-pay machines offer a "full audit trail and rich reporting and analysis." filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the DDA this week, asking for copies of reports for July with the intention of finding out the amount of parking revenue the DDA collected outside the hours of operation.

In response to Bhama's story, DDA Chairwoman Leah Gunn said she was planning to have the DDA's Operations Committee discuss the issue when it meets at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Ironically, Gunn said, she told a downtown visitor this past Saturday at about 6:30 p.m. that they didn't have to pay to park on the street. Hieftje, who appoints the DDA board and serves as a voting member, said he's done the same.

"When I see people putting money into a meter," he said, "I go up to them and say, 'Hey, you don't need to feed the meter after six.' They say, 'Hey, thanks.' I've done that several times." observed four electronic pay stations on the one-block stretch of Main Street between Liberty and William from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

Eleven spots opened up during the two-hour stretch. None of the drivers who came and filled those spots made the mistake of paying — most of them were locals who knew the rules.

But two out-of-town visitors tried to pay before they were stopped by locals and told parking on the street is free after 6 p.m.

"I'm from San Francisco — I have no idea," said Sue Hilk, who was in town helping her daughter Kelly move into the University of Michigan.

Soon Bae, who was visiting from New York on Wednesday, also was about to pay shortly after 6:30 p.m. until a woman standing nearby intervened.

"I was just looking and I couldn't find any sign on here, so I tried to pay the machine, and she told me you don't have to pay at this time," she said.

The woman who told her the meters are free after 6 p.m. was Pittsfield Township resident Miriam Lindsey, who sells the Groundcover News six days a week on Main Street. Lindsey said she has seen many people make the mistake of paying to park in the evening hours.

"That's why I actually started stopping them, because I stand there where my papers are and I've seen so many of them pay," she said. "That's what made me start saying something because it's not right to know something and let them do it. Karma comes back on you."


The old-style parking meters that still exist in some parts of downtown Ann Arbor list the hours of operation but DDA officials acknowledge people still feed coins into them after 6 p.m. and on Sundays when they shouldn't.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Andy Mignery, who was on his way to the new Lena restaurant Wednesday night, said it's ingrained in him after years of living in Ann Arbor that on-street parking is free after 6 p.m.

He pulled his car up to a spot on Main Street shortly after 6 p.m. and quickly walked off without even thinking about paying.

Ann Arbor resident Nolan McCann, who went to the Mani restaurant Wednesday night, parked on Main Street just before enforcement hours ended and put just enough change in to last him until 6 p.m. He said he had to look closely to notice the sticker showing the hours of operation.

"I don't know if it's particularly clear," he said.

Lowenstein said she doesn't think it would be a big revenue hit to the DDA if it cut itself off from the accidental payments. She said it's a drop in the bucket in the DDA's overall budget.

"I don't think it would make any difference to us," she said. "I mean, we don't count on that as extra revenue and that's why we just haven't even discussed it."

The DDA's budget shows it's expecting $18 million in revenue from parking fees this year — a $2 million jump from last year due to rate increases and growing demand.

Starting Saturday, the on-street parking meter rate in Ann Arbor is going up from $1.40 to $1.50 an hour. Parking structure hourly rates are increasing from $1.10 an hour to $1.20 an hour.

Attended parking lot hourly rates will increase from $1.30 to $1.40 an hour for the first three hours and $1.60 an hour thereafter.

DDA officials said the rate increases are needed to keep up with maintenance costs and an increasing financial obligation to the city. Under a negotiated parking agreement, the DDA is required to transfer 17 percent of parking revenues to help augment the city's general fund.

Revenues from the rate increases also are being used to help finance a $50 million underground parking garage the city and DDA recently built on Fifth Avenue downtown.

"It's just a regular rate increase that's been planned for a long time," Hieftje said. "And if you look back to when the DDA was discussing it, there was an open public hearing for several weeks about it. The merchants that we heard from seemed to be OK with it, for the most part."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

If you overpay your water bill you get a credit. If you pay with a 50 at Argo park you get change. Seems to me this is honest and appropriate way of handling those transactions. Why should a parking meter be different? There's a practice solution that somebody chose not to implement (that's an assumption but I doubt it was known about and people just shrugged off the suggestion).

Frustrated in A2

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Reading is fundamental. Read the signs and you don't get towed. Read the meters and you don't waste extra money.


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 5:18 a.m.

I was trying to put some coins into a paystation on U of M North Campus when a message came up that said the parking fees are only enforced till 5 pm...and it was 6 pm! Thanks U of M for telling me not to waste my money! (Downtown, are you hearing the voice of the people? ) But that still doesn't stop me from being mad about a ticket I received another day this summer, printed at 4:55 pm....5 minutes before it was FREE and ONE minute after my time ran out....I just did not have another quarter on me to make it those last 6 minutes, cost me a $6.00 ticket, a stiff fine for one minute of free parking....must have been a slow day on North Campus for the 'parking enforcers'!


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Gouge gouge gouge. The city enjoys scamming people for the extra money. The sign should be much larger and clearer that parking is free after 6 pm.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

Seems like the software upgrade where the welcome screen tells you the hours of operation is the way to go, but I wouldn't make it stop functioning to take money...the stickers ARE small and hard to read, and even more so in the winter. But, if you still put money in after 6, on Sunday, or holidays if the digital screen tells you the hours, it's your own fault. A2 would still get some revenue from after hours parking, and it might be a little fairer to the person parking.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

If it's on the screen and someone still pays, the meter/city has taken steps to see that they don't. If someone still does, it's their own fault then. I've paid after 6 before and when I found out I didn't need to, I only had myself to blame.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

No, it's dishonest. Just because you can get away with it, doesn't make it right. It's easy enough to make the machines honest, let's not gouge the unaware or unsuspecting or, really, anyone.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

Mayor John Hieftje: "I can't imagine that adds up to very much," ...typical response by a politician used to freely spending YOUR money.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

If I made $90 thousand a year, I wouldn't care so much about the extra few dollars for parking. Most people do not make this kind of salary, and more important, it's scamming the public not to make the parking hours sign larger and more prominent.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Are there no instructions on the meters as to when to pay and when not too?

Jim Walker

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

If it is a simple reprogramming to have the machines not accept money after hours, then what is the argument to not do that - as a courtesy? I agree the total money involved is not likely to be very significant - but courtesy is valuable for citizens and visitors. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

Parking is already too expensive. I always make an effort to inform people. Or offer my space and tell them there is such-and-such amount of time left. Increased parking/ticket revenue is a short sighted way to finance the city. I reckon that someone would be more inclined to come back or recommend Ann Arbor if they have a pleasant/friendly experience here.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

If it does not cost the city anything to make the programming changes, I say go ahead and make them. I would rather we provide positive experiences for people. If it will cost the city, stay with the existing notices.

Edward Green

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

Of course they should implement this, but the entire idea behind paid parking is to make more money off of people than necessary. So this probably won't change. Why would the city want less accidental money?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

Lowensteins comment that "it has been discussed" is total BS, I know because I brought it up at a meeting several months ago, it was completely glossed over with a canned response (something that Joan is VERY good at). I also sent an email, which got NO response. Joan either deflects shop owners points or arguements, glosses over them with a canned response or changes the subject in a very deft political way, she seems as though she has taken many courses on how to do so and it is very annoying. The DDA needs to be disbanded, they have been stealing, yes STEALING money for years with meters not set up to not take coins when it is not necessary. also, everytime you use a credit card to pay for a meter there is a percentage that is charged for this service (usually 2.5-3.5%), 3-4 cents of every dollar was built into the rate increase. I don't really apprieciate having to pay extra because some people can't carry coins.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Agree totally that DDA needs to go down, especially after the underground parking garage debacle. Get RID of all of the DDA, especially Pollay.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

my comment should read "it hasn't been discussed" this isn't the only reason I think the DDA should be disbanded


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

Unless you have a magnifying glass and can read backwards, these itty bitty stickers really don't explain much and yes, I agree, very confusing to those who are visiting the area. Half the meters don't even say free after six. I have noticed Ypsilanti is the same way with some of its meters as well. I totally agree that the whole parking meter thing needs to be revamped.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

I say no, but with the caveat that the overages go to funding education. Clearly people need help reading the signs.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

How come all parking meters are not the same? We found out a couple weeks ago, when we saw a meter reader giving out tickets after 6 p.m. across the street from Caseys that you have to pay for 24 hours at those meters but if you park on the street you don't have to pay!!!!

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

I think you are talking about the Amtrak parking lot. That lot is owned by Amtrak and managed by the city. The aim is to keep openings for Amtrak passengers, so the meters are enforced consistently. If you actually take the train you are given a special placard to put inside your windshield. If they didn't enforce this lot, it would get filled up with shift workers from the hospital. So the good news is that there are also spots for Casey's when you need one!


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2 p.m.

That's because the train station needs parking available in the early morning and late at night when Amtrak comes by. The hours of operation are clearly posted.

Ron Granger

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

What a scam.... Thanks DDA! Thanks for giving our city a blackeye! Those features don't need to be "programmed", it's a simple configuration option. You know, like clicking a check box. Someone made the decision to try and charge after hours - WHO? Who was the decision-maker? And in other cities, if you hit the "add minutes" button when near the end of the enforcement window, it will only add exactly the right amount of minutes. Isn't technology great? Aren't intentional ripoffs bad? How much will the class action lawsuit against the DDA for the over-charges cost us, the taxpayers?

Ghost of Tom Joad

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

I'm sorry, but if people are unable to read the instructions, then it's their own fault that they're wasting their money.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

I voted her up because I too agree with this one. Although they do need to make these instructions a little bit bigger for those who can't read upside down or backwards.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

I accidentally voted you down, I meant to vote you up. You're completely right. The hours are posted mere inches from the coin slot.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

A realistic headline would have been "Not Much To Worry About In Ann Arbor, So We Will Settle For This" Penny-ante is overstating it.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

If this "isn't a big deal" like the DDA says, and is such an easy software upgrade, then they should have no problem upgrading the meters to not accept after-hour payments. It could be argued that any additional costs would be negated by the accidental revenue they've earned from after-hour parking. Right...right?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

"We haven't considered it a problem." Yeah, I'll bet.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

It's not a problem until it doesn't pay well.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

Silly subject, must be a really slow news day.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

jc- This was an issue raised by a reader and as commenters have pointed out the meters impact not only those parking but a number of groups including businesses owners, city operations, tax paying residents, etc.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

The city should hire people to place their hands over the coin slots on each meter and station so that customers don't have to take responsibility to read the hours of operation. Of course, this will probably boost the parking fees to $30/hr. Folks are in a rush, you know.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

This is what I am talking about when I say that the City Council is ANTI-Business! Screwing the customers (people who park at meters) after hours. Good Example Ryan!, Thanks!


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

You didn't blame Obama!


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

The downtown Ann Arbor market - the region's third-largest, at 1.68 million square feet - went from 13.57 percent vacant in 2010 to 10.99 percent at the end of 2011. That move, Wise said, shows that significant deals are still happening downtown and that companies that are actively leasing - namely technology firms - still value the downtown experience for their employees.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

as far as I'm concerned the hours of operation should be clearly available at any point where you would pay money. After that its buyer beware. I always look for the hours of operation information if I remotely think its possible I don't have to feed the meter. On the other hand I have pretty much stopped going downtown.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

As you know Goob, some of the commenters are just plain rude. Anything, I mean anything that does not agree with their way of thinking gets slammed. So goes the saga of Ann Arbor. I do agree with you and others, the solution is in the software change. But, I have no faith that the leaders of this city will make this change. You see, it is not part of their personal agendas.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

I stopped going downtown too, but got blasted by stating as much from some of these same commenters. Go figure! Pay for parking should have hours of operation, unit software, etc. to aid the patron. What about visitng international visitors who have a hard time with English? Built in software would aid greatly and be a benefit to AA citizens.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Can we just make the sign on the meters and pay stations where the hours are posted bigger? Then if you pay after 6 PM it's your own fault. Frankly, I already think it is because two inches from where you put your coins it clearly states the hours. Is this really an issue?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

How about getting rid of the meters downtown, and just collect a parking tax from the merchants? The prices would go up, but it would be easier for the shoppers coming downtown.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

no thanks, I have enough paper work to do than some parking tax crap, also it would just be mismanaged, all they have to do is program the freaking machines


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Call it an "obtuse tax". We could use more of them, maybe it would encourage people to learn to pay attention to the world around them.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

The DDA should do something more to notify that you don't have to pay after 6pm as a courtesy, so people who aren't from Ann Arbor won't think they're being ripped off when they find out that it's free after 6.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

Sorry - but still investigating - here are the "Holidays" you dont have to feed meters in Ann Arbor - some are after 12 PM - that is not posted anywhere on the payment machines! Can it be any more confusing ? City of Ann Arbor Parking Meter Exemption Holidays The 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. restriction in designated shopper's zones* and payment for parking at meters are not enforced on the following days/times. (Please note, however, that spaces designated for handicap parking are always enforced.) News Years Day Martin Luther King Jr. Day Presidents Day Good Friday (after 12 p.m. only) Memorial Day Independence Day Labor Day Veterans Day Thanksgiving Day (and the Friday that follows) Christmas Eve (after 12 p.m. only) Christmas Day New Years Eve (after 12 p.m. only)


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

I agree - posting this is key, regardless of a coin operated device or the electronic devices.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Oh no people don't read the directions clearly marked on the meters! This isn't news. Consider it a fee for not reading the rules or following directions.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

The DDA - literally nickeling and diming people. Very classy.

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

yep Brad, I agree except I'd remove the "cl" from classy.......


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

The stickers can be very difficult to read, especially in winter months when it's dark, or if the sticker has faded.

Top Cat

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

For truth in advertising, perhaps the DDA could put out tip jars for after 6 PM.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

What is more bothering than getting ripped off is why did Ann Arbor go with a Canadian manufacture when we have US manufactures that have digital solar power meters made in the US? Hopefully they at least made them available to bid on these.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

Maybe Canada should stop buying anything made in the US. Isolationism will make us all more wealthy!


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

Because residents want bidding and lowest bidder is usually the winner because that is what people want. (I speak out of experience). It's very hard to not go with the lowest bidder in a governmental institution.

Jim Osborn

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : noon

The city, via the DDA, expects and needsa certain amount of revenue from parking. If the practice is stopped, then the rate per hour will rise. Those who pay for after 6 PM opr on Sunday never know that they are paying extra. This is a "tax" paid by out of towners. Other cities have hotel taxes or rental car taxes. To avoid paying it, all someone has to do is READ the meter. So easy to do. Why should Ann Arbor pay money to reduce parkng revenue when all those paying the amount need to do is read the clearly marked meters? Madness! (I've often told people not to pay, but I guess I shouldn't)

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

JO...So let me get this straight. If out of towners come into town, are confused by the traffic and the new non-meters and stuff, and pay more than they need to, so long as they don't know they are getting gypped it's a good thing to take their money? What ethical system is that from? Rip off the visitor and hope they don't notice, and it's great? Wow.

Jim Osborn

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Right on the meter where one places their money is, in big print the hours of operation. Very clear. I'm not as sure about th new machines, they, too should have the hours clearly posted. Years ago I got after the Maynard parking garage to do something for Sunday. I tired of waiting behind people who did not know what to do since there was no ticket since it was free, now it is covered and a sign is posted.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

I'd put it another way: why does the DDA want to cheat people? If the meter system was that understandable it wouldn't take people three minutes apiece to make the transaction that used to take about six seconds.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

There is something anticlimactic about driving a convertible 911 downtown for a 3 figure meal and yet having to take part in a coin-based transaction of any kind.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

I think it should be clearly posted somewhere, but the system should not STOP you from paying. Caveat Emptor. I don't think it's clearly posted at the pay stations right now. A good study would be to determine how is this different from the coin individual systems - where you can pay after hours?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

Isn't fraud to take money that is not rifghtfully yours? Banks that give money in error - the money must be given back. This is the same thing. Seems to me what is happening is ILLEGAl. and the DDA knows exactly what they are doing and actively and knowingly participating in the fraud. Maybe we need the DDA to be in the Fox News HALL OF SHAME


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Sorry - but it is complketely different than coin - the solar system is intelligent - it is computer based - and I still believe since the party accepting the money when they know its not theirs to have is FRAUD. Its a government body - no wonder we cannot trust government employees. Go ahead ad raise the rates if they have to - to make up for the stealing that the DDA is perpetuating .


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

I don't think it is - the time could have been gifted to you. It's only fraud if you stole it from someone else and they wanted it. Noone wants the unused time in the space - since it's not banked and you can't get it back. No different if it was a coin individual meter.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

The meters are programmed to over-collect. Even during enforcement hours, it's impossible to determine how much paid "time" may have been left on the meter for a previous customer who departed early. The meter is programmed to simply "add time" for the new customer, without regard to time left. With the traditional meters, you can see that a meter may not have e pired, and simply add money to increase your time. Thus, the new meters collect "double" payments all the time. This is no accident.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Sellers is right. You can use 'add more time' to see if there is currently any time remaining in the spot. I learned that from a nice woman who was leaving her spot who knew she had more time left and notified me so I just added more time to the parking spot by just entering the parking space number. I have yet to find another spot with remaining time though.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Oops. Actually that after hours payment did happen on Liberty., so it must've been a different evening than when they were monitoring. It was on the new style meter and I was in a huge hurry....who has time to look at the time?!

Some Guy in 734

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

In order to "add time", you have to have the code from the original receipt. Without that code, the meters keep mum about what spaces do and don't have time still.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

@GoNavy. If somebody else has paid for the time then there is no reason for you to also pay. They have essentially paid for your time to park. While I love the convenience of the new meters, I do not like how they consistently collect for more time than what is being used, like CindyY points out. Also, I am not sure, @sellers that you can just "add time". I try that every time to see if it will work, and, if it does, I haven't yet come across any spot that has time left on it. Which I find odd since I almost always find time left on old style meters that I park at. Have you been successful "adding time"? My kids insist it can be I keep trying. If you ever see a person jumping up and down at the meter like they finally won the lottery - that'll be me finally finding THAT meter... Also, I am a life ling Ann Arborite who sometimes is not paying attention to the time closely enough and puts money in the meter. In fact, I did it just the other evening on Washington (probably when they were monitoring Liberty!). It was the new style meter, so I did halfway wonder if my credit card charge would go through. Or, if it did, if I would call to get the $1.50 refunded!! I would love to see an audit if these meters, and how much overpayment there is.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

And I believe you are wrong Cindy, I believe you can add time to space and if there is time on the space, it adds time, if not, then you can not add time to the space.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

You're paying for your own use of the space. What you are saying is that you preferred the prior arrangement, where you could get by on the money somebody else paid to park in the space.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:23 a.m.

Whenever I see someone thinking about putting money into a meter or a machine, or even thinking about doing it, after 6pm or on a holiday or on Sunday, I'm quick to tell them that they don't have to pay. In my mind, it's unconscionable that the machines accept money when there should be no charge for parking. Ann Arbor and the DDA would gain a whole lot more in goodwill and good karma if the machines didn't accept payment for times when parking is supposed to be free. I e-mailed Susan Pollay about this several months ago. She replied, "Thank you so much for this email about the parking meters. I will be sure to forward it to Republic Parking." To that, I replied, "More than just forwarding it to them, why don't you just tell them to do it?" I never got a reply to that e-mail.

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

mrAnnarbor, it comes as NO surprise that Ms. Pollay never responded. these people live in their own private Idaho.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

I stopped one of the Republic Parking employess abouyt someone parked in a Handicap spot that had no placard or handicap plates. He was rude and said it wasn't his problem and maybe I should call a cop.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

The DDA has to make money somewhere because NO ONE is parking in the huge, expensive library lot.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

I parked there and darn it Im somebody.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

yes they should, because they certainly don't hesitate to give you a ticket, there is no gray area, once the info is entered into the device the human element is gone.....even if you are running up and pleading for them not to give you a ticket.....

5c0++ H4d13y

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:53 a.m.

We all knew these pay on foot stations were a scam to increase revenue. I see people paying after hours all the time. If I'm near them I tell them not to. Ann Arbor is teh suck.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:48 a.m.

Well, if there were a simple solution, such as enabling the meters to simply turn themselves off when you don't need to pay, then go for it. However, I'm not the biggest fan of saving individuals from their own stupidity, especially when it means a few extra dollars to go around for the rest of us. Having learned before I could even drive about "paying to park on Sundays," then later learning to "read the posted signs," I consider paying to park when you don't have to as something of a "stupidity tax." PS To those confused about holidays: There are 11 official federal holidays in a year. They're the same holidays every year. The Ann Arbor DDA notes on its website that it observes not only these official holidays, but a few of the prior half-days (New Year's eve, Christmas Eve, etc) Sundays.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

Chip- I'm not sure if you had internet connectivity when you chose instead to call five to six different DDA employees, but from experience in my own line of work I can say that information written down is much more useful than information conveyed verbally.

Chip Reed

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:09 p.m.

I am not confused. I was merely pointing out that the city did not reveal which holidays it observed when I called on the telephone (five or six times over a span of a few years).


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

There IS a simple solution - the one that was discussed at length in the article and already available from the vendor - also discussed in the article. Your desire to rip people off notwithstanding. It comes as zero surprise that it isn't something that concerns the DDA. They are already "comfortable" with taking people's unethically.

Nick Danger

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:47 a.m.

Why not first make sure the meters work. The new meters are a pain in the butt.They often dont take the credit cards and it takes 5 minutes just to get them to operate correctly

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

For a taller person on a glaringly sunny day, getting almost on your knees and still not being able to read the meter, these digital things are nasty. You can have 'em. I'll go elsewhere.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

had on "resetting" forever


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

"DDA officials said the rate increases are needed to keep up with maintenance costs and an increasing financial obligation to the city." The last part says it all. Effectively parking is being used as a tax. Moreover, the DDA exists to serve the city; the "obligation" is really its mandate and the parking money doesn't belong to them, it belongs to residents. Finally, it is a no-brainer to turn the fancy meters off after 6pm. The reason they haven't done it is they still plan on increasing the hours of operation until 8 or 10pm. Do we really need the DDA anymore? Why is an appointed group entrusted with so much money and decision-making power? Who are they accountable to? Just the mayor, right?

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:30 a.m.

When this came up as the top story this morning, I thought I had clicked on News of Ann Arbor by mistake.

Chip Reed

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:26 a.m.

Parking at meters is free on "holidays", but the city is less than forthcoming about which holidays are observed in this manner. I have asked city officials a number of times and they usually respond with a variation of "Just call us anytime that you have a question...".


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Ryan - Columbus Day is not a City holiday.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

oops, Chip. Looks pretty clear to me.

Jim Osborn

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

$1.50 to $2.00 If it were $20 I might be slightly annoyed

Jim Osborn

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

OK, I've been paying when I didn't have to!!! I go to our churh on Good Friday and pay on Good Friday, never dreaming that it is a holiday. Oh well, I lost only $1.50 to $20 each year. Funny. Now I know. Thanks for the holiday rule info.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:32 a.m.

From the DDA's website: "Free on evenings, Sundays and all federal holidays observed by City employees: New Year's Eve Day (after 12 p.m.), New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Good Friday (after 12 p.m.), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday, Christmas Eve Day (after 12 p.m.), and Christmas Day."


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:16 a.m.

The DDA is just a hole in the ground you throw money into with the " bomb shelter" thats more than a saying ..they take $$$ any way they can get it ..If you think the city and DDA will do anything to stop any cash cow you truly do need tinfoil hat....