The new parking sensors went into effect on May 12. According to the city’s parking webpage, “the sensors are part of the new credit card and phone-enabled parking meters installed over the past several months and represent the latest in parking meter technology.”

In 2009, consultants told the city that it “doesn’t need more spaces; it needs to change how they are used, (that it needed) new pricing models to promote walking, biking or busing; freeing up prime spaces for short-term shoppers.”

“City officials say the changes are devised to make street parking more efficient by turning over spaces more quickly. But critics, including residents and visitors from near and far, say the tactic appears to be simply a way to squeeze more money out of the parking meters.”

However, the pattern has been the same as with the smart meters in San Francisco (See Planetizen: More Meter Revenue But Fewer Parking Tickets Issued). Donald Patterson, Santa Monica’s assistant director of finance, reports that “since the new meters have been installed, parking tickets in the area have decreased.” However, additional revenue of $1.7 million is expected from the meter fees.

Unlike the smart meters in San Francisco or Los Angeles that “relied on federal grants to begin making their changes, Santa Monica is paying a San Diego company, ips group about $4 million for the system, a much smaller price tag than the projects in the larger cities.”