5:07pm

Mon September 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Manhattan Says Goodbye To Its Last Single-Space Parking Meter

Surely, it's not an extinction that will cause many tears: This afternoon Department of Transportation crews ripped out the last single-space parking meter in Manhattan. You know, the kind of meter that sits atop poll and takes quarters.

The New York Times paid its respects, yesterday, with a long obit:

A silent fixture of the streetscape that became an improbable icon of a car-choked metropolis, the Manhattan meter would have turned 60 on the day of its demise. The cause of death, officials said, was an acute case of obsolescence.

The old-fashioned, pole-mounted meter will now yield to the robotlike Meter of Tomorrow: a solar-powered box, equipped with Wi-Fi, that can handle eight parking spaces at once and can shut itself down on free-parking Sundays.

The city's Transportation Department, which recently accelerated its meter retirement program, says the change will benefit city and citizen alike: the new meters read credit cards, speak seven languages, require less maintenance, and free up room on the sidewalk.

Today, the local news site DNAinfo.com, detailed its final minutes. 60 years of history, they wrote, was gone in 15 minutes. Meter No. 101-0655 was pulled up from the concrete and replaced with an 80 pound technological marvel.

Quoting the blog Gothamist, that means, "say goodbye to the age-old hunt for that glorious broken meter and the sledgehammer-wielding thieves who used to break them for their quarters—in Manhattan at least."

But if you miss them, there will still be plenty in New York's outer boroughs.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.