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Parking Meters

This article appeared in the City of Dayton Annual Report for 1940


Parking Meters



Division of Police


     THE EVER-INCREASING PROBLEM of providing parking facilities in the business district of the city has given the Police Department much concern. There is not sufficient curb space to accommodate the large number of autoists who have occasion to  transact business in the central part of the city. This results in many people being unable to find curb parking space and resorting to double parking, which causes a congestion of and inconvenience to moving traffic.

     An ordinance was passed limiting the parking time on the various streets in the congested district. However, due to the fact that the Police Department lacked the necessary man power to properly enforce the provisions of the limited parking ordinance, this did not produce the anticipated increase in available parking spaces.

     In the fall of 1939, four parking meters were installed on the west side of Main Street, between First and Second Streets, as an experiment. These meters provided for five minutes of free parking, twelve minutes for one cent and sixty minutes for five cents. The results shown by these meters was such as to justify further expansion of the metered zones.

     On March 25, 1940, nineteen parking meters were placed in operation on East Fourth Street, from [p. 77] Main Street to Jefferson Street. On July 26, 1940, nineteen additional meters were installed on West Fourth Street, from Main Street to Ludlow Street, and on August 3, 1940, sixteen meters were installed on Ludlow Street, from Third Street to Fourth Street. This particular area had given the Police Department great concern due to congestion caused by double parking, which endangered both motorists and pedestrians alike. Since the installation of the parking meters on these three blocks, congestion has been reduced to a minimum because of the reduction in double parking.

     The meters have met with almost universal approval of the public, although there was some misunderstanding until the motorists were thoroughly acquainted with their operation. However, police officers were assigned to this territory in an effort to educate the public on the workings of the meters. Previous to their installation all of the building owners and their tenants were interviewed and the operation of the meters explained to them. Their unanimous approval was then obtained.

     The meters were purchased at a price of $50.00 each. The parking space for each meter installed varies from twenty to twenty-two feet in length, thereby eliminating the difficulty in entering or leaving a parking space because of other machines being parked too close. This was often the cause of damaged bumpers or fenders.

     There have been requests from several business men in other locations for the installation of parking meters, as they have seen their advantage in the metered zones. The revenue from the meters averages slightly less than forty cents a day, indicating that each space is usually occupied during the eight-hour period, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in which the meters are in operation. This situation will probably change and more vacant space will appear as the number of meters is increased and it is likely the revenue per meter will decrease slightly as a result.