so much for the solar

The city of Boston is going green. Well, greenish.

After putting in extra-large curbside trash cans with solar-powered trash compactors, the city added solar-powered parking meters. No more do you have to dig around under your seat for quarters. These machines take those dreaded dollar coins - you know, the bulky gold coins that roll out of the Charlie Card machine en masse after you buy one ride on the T with a $20. If you've only nickels and dimes to spare, too bad. It's a solar-powered parking meter, not a CoinStar machine or a wishing well. But these meters do take plastic.

And it seems by green, the city is more focused on getting the green than going green. Gone are the days of getting some free time from the previous parker - each of these meters serves half a block's worth of cars. Instead of the meters displaying the time remaining for each corresponding parking spot, these babies spit out a sticky note with the expiration time printed on it. Yep, a "green" machine that uses hundreds of sticky notes a day. Sticky notes that inevitably end up in the trash. Well, maybe if people are nice they go from car window to secret communal stash of extra meter time to different car window to solar-powered trash can. But it's still a bunch of rubbish in the end.

FURTHER THOUGHTS (21 NOV 2006 | 11:30 PM): Nevermind about the plastic. The Boston Globe reported today that you can't use credit for the meters in any increment of 15 minutes (or 25 cents) - you can only use credit to pay for two full hours (that's $2). But there's hope yet. The news hook was that mandatory minimum payments actually violate the terms of several credit card companies.

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