No more leftovers: Salem changes parking meters

SALEM, Mass. (WHDH) — There will be no more free rides when it comes to parking in downtown Salem.

“I find more often than not I almost never have to pay for the meters because there’s almost always time and I hunt those ones down,” said Josh Potamis.

The new parking system now has sensors in the road so when a car pulls out of a spot the meter is reset. This means the days of looking past red lights of expired meters are gone.

“If I see green one I’ll pull into that spot, because typically you’re just running in and out,” said one woman.

Residents are having trouble understanding the reason behind this new system.

“I feel like they’re getting the money anyway, so why get double the money for the same amount of time? If I put 20 minutes, but I only end up being five and someone else just needs 10, you’re getting paid for a lot more time,” said a woman.

The idea is to turn over prime downtown spaces as often as possible, while driving day-long parkers to garages that are less expensive. It will also raise some much-needed revenue for the city.

“You’re not double paying, but the space is being paid for twice. Does that make any sense? No. Not on a practical sense, but on a revenue sense…it’s there. It does make sense,” said Salem City Councilor William Legault.

This has some residents feeling cheated.

“As long as there’s time still on it, we should be allowed to use that time. It’s sort of like take a penny leave a penny. If I’m not going to use it, I’d rather someone else do it rather than it just go to waste,” said Potamis.

Residents are also concerned that the signs on the meters don’t have an out time, so people continue to put change into the meter when they don’t have to. Legault said he will bring this to the city’s attention.