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Muni Meters: Italian-style

I just got back from a trip to Italy. It is a curse of an urban planner to be thinking about work while traveling to foreign cities. I’m always noticing urban design elements, and this time I was particularly focused on the parking situation.

Munimeter in Spoleto

I noticed that in Italy, there are muni meters everywhere, from the smallest medieval villages to the large cities. It is just a part of life there so there isn’t any confusion or resistance. Change is difficult, so there will be an adjustment period for many residents to get used to the muni meters. There are becoming more commonplace so in time even visitors won’t think twice about them. Nyack is on the vanguard.
Munimeter in SpoletoThe main disadvantage to the muni meters is that a person has to go up to the meter, get the receipt, and then return it to their car, which may be several car lengths from the meter. But the advantages are many:

  • Nyack will make more money due to better maintenance, no “free” parking by those using the previous person’s dime, and less “leakage” from those collecting the money.
  • The spaces don’t have to be lined, so if there are several smaller cars (non-SUVs), then more of them can squeeze into the same area and don’t have to conform to a standard parking size
  • Oversight is easier as far as automatic reporting of broken meters and easy to change rates for specials.
  • Is sure is nice not having hundreds of stems dotting our narrow sidewalks, effectively reducing the width of the sidewalk by a foot.

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