St. John's forced to cut new parking meters down to size

The City of St. John's has almost finished installing its 1,069 new parking meters, but many people say they can't use them.
Karen Mitchell says the new parking meters in St. John's are high for someone of her height. (CBC)

The City of St. John's has almost finished installing its 1,069 new parking meters, but many people say they can't use them.

Councillors have received complaints from residents about the height of the new meters, saying they're having a hard time reaching them.

Vicki Taylor-Hood, who works with a law firm in the Churchill Square area of the city, said she finds it hard to read the time on the meters.

"I can't actually see the screens. I'm five-foot-three. I'm not particularly short, but I'm standing by a meter, and I can't actually see the screen," she said.

Taylor-Hood said she's also worried about how it could affect her business.

"I mean, it's not a big deal for me. I can jump, right?" she said.

"But if I've got a client who's 80 years old, which we do often have coming here, I have actually had to come out and put money in the meter for them because, first of all, they can reach it, but they can't see what it's doing, and they're fairly confused by the whole interface."

Taylor-Hood said this could also pose problems for residents who are disabled.

"If you are of standing height, you have one perspective on the world, but if you're about a foot-and-a-half to two feet lower than that because you're in a wheelchair, you can't even touch the buttons, let alone see the screen," she said.

Taylor-Hood said if people can't feed the meters because they're too high, they could end up with unfair parking tickets.

"If you got to a meter and couldn't reach it, can you imagine prosecuting that parking ticket?" 

Others echoed Taylor-Hood's concerns.

"It's high for someone of my height," said Karen Mitchell. "I put two coins in, and I can't see any numbers come up, so I don't know if it's working or not."

About 75 per cent of the new meters are deemed to be too high. City crews will now have to cut those meters down to make them shorter.

Council was forced to change the old meters because they wouldn't accept the newest loonies and toonies.

The new digital meters now also accept credit cards.


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