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Old Town Alexandria Plans To Change Parking Meters | News

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Old Town Alexandria Plans To Change Parking Meters

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) -- Utter the words 'parking meter' and even the mild mannered can simmer over.

"It's crazy, it's crazy. It's straight crazy. I just want them to get it together. Whoever's in charge, get it together!," said Quan Davis, who works in Alexandria.

Quan Davis lost a pocketful of coins in an Old Town Alexandria parking meter.

"It's terrible. I've lost over three dollars today. Because I have to put coins in for the company vehicle. And I lost over three dollars. So I was coming from the store actually getting change so I could put it into the machine so I wouldn't get a ticket," said Quan.

Davis is not alone. The city's parking meters display specific instructions: 'valid coins only.' But nowhere do they say what constitutes a valid coin.

"I just noticed because I was trying to put in some nickels and the time wasn't going up, so I lost a couple nickels in there. So yeah, that's a little weird. I think they should at least tell you that they only accept quarters and dimes," said Caitlin Schara, an Arlington resident.

We took our questions to Abi Lerner, of Alexandria's transportation department.

"The meters do not specify the coins that you can use. However, if you try to put in a dollar coin, it will not fit through the slot," said Lerner.

The Alexandria city council has authorized the replacement of all the single-space meters in Old Town at the cost of $1,250,000 to taxpayers.

"We feel we are going to address the problem, the issue, by replacing those meters rather than having to address each individual single-space meter," said Lerner.

"This is a classic case of literally nickeling and diming taxpayers to death. Make bad meters. Tell them to figure out the instructions. And then say don't worry about it, because we're going to spend more money to replace the ones we have anyway? It's a merry go round and it's a costly ride," said Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union.

City officials insist the new multi-space meters like this will pay for themselves in two years and will be customer-friendly by accepting credit cards.

Written by Andrea McCarren
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com