As many of us read in the morning paper, parking fines are going up in San Francisco. Matier and Ross give comparisons with other California cities like San Jose, Los Angeles and Walnut Creek, none of which charge as much for S.F. does for overstaying time at a parking meter. The new $60 fine for parking too long without feeding the meter will annoy lots of people, but it may help us time our life’s tasks better. Ever since the parking meters started charging by ten-minute intervals, drivers in neighborhoods have had to figure exactly how long it takes them to mail a package or return library books. “I can pick up my dry cleaning within ten minutes, but what if there’s a line? Should I drop an extra quarter in the meter?” These are the kind of vexing questions San Franciscans are faced with. Perhaps some kind social scientist will do a study to advise us on how many meter bites it takes to navigate everyday life in the city. A little booklet of the average time required for a visit to the post office would be handy, or perhaps a website we could call up on our Blackberries. There is room for a new breed of time management consultants to handle this whole parking issue as life in the city gets ever more complex.
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