I think I’m one of the few people in Sydney whose spirits rise at the site of a grey ghost (parking police). I live in an area which is mixed – about 50% of my street is businesses, mostly advertising agencies and design studios. The whole street is residents parking only, with non residents only allowed to stay for two hours.
Which means that despite this area having just about the best public transport outside the Sydney CBD (trains, buses or ferries, every five minutes or so), many people who work here drive to work and park their cars in the street. The parking fine they will get every 10 days or so is cheaper than paying for off-street parking, which is in hot demand.
So residents are unable to park their cars in the street during working hours, because the spaces are full of commuters. I’d love to have parking meters in our street – grey ghosts can be much more effective if there is a parking meter, because they don’t have to chalk the tyres of each car to record when they got there in the first place. But there is a group of residents who do have adequate offstreet parking (we have offstreet parking, but it’s our entire backyard) who campaign against parking meters for aesthetic reasons.
I’d like the solution to be that we could magically refuse parking to all commuters, without the parking meters, but it seems to me that parking meters would solve the problem pretty nicely.
Many people criticise local councils for parking meters because they are “revenue raising”. But they also have a little appreciated effect of making it much easier to enforce existing parking restrictions. If they happen to also raise a little revenue on the side, well, I for one would appreciate lower rates!