A Little Radio Nostalgia for the Parking Meter

Who needs a bit of warm and fuzzy this week? We found some in a Rhinelander, Wisc., radio historian’s recent report, which offered a little lesson and some nostalgia for the old-time parking meter.

“Parking meters are a useful way to regulate traffic flow in areas where parking is at a premium, but in recent years they have disappeared from many urban districts,” reported Gary Entz, who told his audience the history of the meter, including its installation (times 250) in Rhinelander in 1946.

“Many residents continued to believe that the meters represented a nuisance on their rights as drivers, but the reality was that they helped regulate the smooth flow of traffic through downtown and ensured that customer parking would be available for businesses. Fee collection was secondary, and parking fees were used for meter maintenance and infrastructure improvements.”

Rhinelander’s last meter was pulled out in 2001 after a highway bypass and the dawn of big box stores outside the downtown reduced the need for parking enforcement. But it’s clear some folks still wax poetically about the old devices. Take a listen (or read the transcript) here.