About a week ago, on the morning of October 24, a parking enforcement officer in Bloomington, Indiana, found out that all of the parking meters were spray-painted pink and green, and the coin and card slots were filled with expanding foam, making the machines inoperable.
Allie McHaley, who discovered the mess, works downtown in Bloomington and said:
“I got out of my car, and I walked around and there was spray foam insulation coming out of all the holes, and it was crazy.”
In the middle of the night, 125 parking meters were destroyed and police still have no clue about who is responsible for it but estimate that the repair of the damage will cost about $5,000.
The parking meters impacted are located around the square and along nearby downtown streets, and replacement parts to fix the damage are on their way.
Yet, the work of the vigilante vandals was all in vain, as residents were instructed by parking enforcement officials to instead use a smartphone app to pay for parking.
Officials added that they will not ticket people who park at meters and don’t use the parking app, so it will be up to the drivers to decide whether or not they want to pay.
The video below shows the parking meters being repaired:
The police hope to find the vandal behind this incident, but it turns out, acts of this kind have a message in mind those in authority are not listening and don’t seem to care about the message.
This is not the first time vandals cause such damage, and some jurisdictions have considered putting cameras on the meters to catch them in the act.
In 2016, a cancer patient from Winnipeg, Canada, Collin Kennedy, recorded himself using expandable foam to break a parking meter outside of the hospital where he was being treated. He later said that the parking meters are a “tax for the sick: as they kept on increasing.
A completely different strategy proved to be helpful in Keene, New Hampshire. Groups of Keene residents known as “Robin Hooders” have walked the streets filling expired parking meters with their own money, ultimately saving people from receiving parking tickets.
When the “Robin Hooders” come across a car that already has a ticket on it, they place information on the windshield that provides tips on how to beat the ticket in court.
The city tried to sue the group and prevent them from coming in contact with parking enforcers, but both lawsuits were thrown out.
What is your opinion on this? Do you believe parking should be free, or these fees serve their own purposes? They are certainly important in some places, however, there needs to be serious limits set in regards.