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MONDAY, JULY 17, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Parking meter with sonar ruins one of life’s small joys

New parking-meter technology calls to mind the story of the new postmaster in a small town who announced an "improvement' in the handling of income-tax returns.

Until he arrived, people could deposit their tax returns in the post office as late as 5 or 6 a.m. on April 16, the day after the deadline, and they'd get a postmark of midnight April 15. That was because no employees arrived in the post office until about breakfast time.

As a public service, though, the new guy was going to personally be in the post office at midnight so that he could certify that tax returns had met the deadline.

Mailers were less than thrilled because he was costing them several hours they could use to complete their tax returns.

Now comes word that IntelliPark LLC, a company in Bethesda, Md., is selling a parking meter that uses sonar technology to wipe paid-for time off the meter as soon as a car moves out.

This deprives other drivers of serendipity — the opportunity to take advantage of somebody else's quarter.

Never mind that these days, while cruising for an unexpired meter, you can easily burn enough gasoline to cancel out what you save on parking. This high-tech parking meter is a very bad idea.

Some things that aren't constitutional rights, ought to be.

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