The days of fortuitous parking have met an untimely fate by the sea.
Monday began the reign of the 'smart' parking meter in Santa Monica with the debut of more than 6,000 high-tech timers that take their cue from ground sensors. As soon as a car leaves, the device mercilessly resets, wiping out the remaining time that would have previously been gifted to the next soul in the space.
Also, the new sensors -- which are solar-powered and able to take payments by credit card, phone and coins -- will keep cars from staying put. Drivers "will no longer be able to run back and feed the meter to keep their cars parked over the allotted initial time limit," notes the L.A. Times.
What the new meters taketh, however, they may returneth in some capacity by alerting parkers via text message when the apparatus is close to expiring. Of course, this means sharing a phone number with the robots, and without getting too conspiracal (not a real word), that potentially opens a door to possible privacy concerns.
The city of Santa Monica says the new meter situation should improve parking availability and raise an expected $1.7 million in revenue, reports the Times.
Look for additional meters to be installed citywide by next year.
Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner