On November 12 it will be 71 years since the first parking meters hit Vancouver. The fee was five cents an hour.
For the first 30 years, police had responsibility for checking the meters, and I bet that assignment was the equivalent of standing in the corner with a dunce cap. Parking meter enforcement was transferred to a civilian force in 1976, and the rates ranged between 10 and 40 cents an hour.
Branca Verde was one of the early “meter maids” when she was hired by the City of Vancouver in 1982. There were 12 in total, she told a Vancouver Sun reporter on her retirement last year, and yes, all were women.
The checkers were given some scratchy dark blue fabric and told to make themselves a skirt, long shorts or pants. Then they were handed old jackets from the engineering department-it doesn’t say whether they were new or used.
To outsmart over-parkers who rubbed off the chalk used to mark the tire, the checkers would place a smartie on top of the tire under the wheel well, said Verde.
Today, there are around 10,000 parking meters on Vancouver streets ratcheting up anywhere from $1 to $6 an hour and filling city coffers with $50 million every year and another $20 million in parking tickets.
Where was the world’s first parking meter you ask? Well according to Parking-net it was in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935 and called Park-O-Meter No. 1.
- City of Vancouver Archives – http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/
- Chuck Davis’s History of Metropolitan Vancouver
- Vancouver Sun, October, 2016
- CBC, November, 2016
© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.