We Read the Parking Meter Comments, So You Don’t Have To

Kitten Reading Internet Comments

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When controversy happens… when tempers flare…we read the comments, so you don’t have to.

This week, there was a contentious meeting in St. Paul concerning proposals to implement parking meters on Grand Avenue. The meeting was “heated,” to use the words of the Pioneer Press. It featured a crowd willing to heckle those speaking.

Will the comments?

We decided to read the comments and rate each media outlet on a scale of 1-5 stars, where 1 means “reading these made us feel dumber,” and 5 means “we have hope for our civilization and maybe someday Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul will have bike lanes.”

Pioneer Press: 300 pack heated mayoral meeting on Grand Avenue parking meters

51 comments. We grabbed an extra coffee before starting. Highlights:

  • We learn that parking meters are tools of the leftist state: “You keep electing leftists to run your lives, well friends that costs money. See, Social Justice and Diversity ain’t cheap. There are NEEDS out there, and your DFL leaders are gonna fill them if it takes every penny you got; and it will….so pay up, suckers, and prepare to pay up again.”
  • We learn that parking meters are a direct result of building bike lanes: “Hey wait could this “budget shortfall” have anything to do with all the money (Million) that went into bike lanes?”
  • Others seem to support meters, like Tyler: “I’d support paying a few bucks when I drive to grand (or other high traffic areas) if it means kids can safely bicycle to more places around the city or families can meet their neighbors at a dog park. Sounds pretty nice.”

SCORE: 1 ?, mostly because there are a few very earnest people who are posting sensibly in the face of statements about crime, brown people, Obama, and liberal nanny states. We want to give them credit for perseverance in the face of the PiPress comments section, and invite them to drink with us.

Star-Tribune: St. Paul mayor booed at forum on Grand Av. parking meter proposal

455 comments. Ohmahgerd. Please send high-end alcohol to your author:

  • User littleboots suggests a state answer to local demand issues: “Why not just end cannabis prohibition in Minnesota and use the tax revenue from the sales to fill budget gaps like this, build new schools, fix on the potholes in St Paul etc.”
  • Actual analysis of the parking situation on Grand! “At some level of payment meters would have a unifying effect that would improve the parking situation for patrons. Residents and employees could be accommodated with special permits. Revenue maximization should not be the goal here – meters could be priced high enough to ruin the commercial environment for the retail outlets that line the street.”
  • A local says: “If you think we are snobs, consider how you would feel if there was a toll bridge at the entrance to your local Target.” (There isn’t?)
  • Someone calls St. Paul podunk: “Further evidence that StPaul is basically a Podunk town in the city. These folks also want all the fancy city services.”
  • ObGlobalWarmingHoax comment: “It is all part of the global warming hoax and socialist limousine liberals trying to force hard working families, who are the backbone of this exceptional country, to pay for parking so people will vote for free stuff.”
  • St. Paul inferiority cited: “Wow, not very confident in the drawing power of their shops, are they? Sheesh. Some of the public comments (“we’re not Uptown!”) show an inferiority complex. Meters aren’t going to change overall shopping behavior.”

SCORE: 0 ?. I only read the first 150 comments, I admit. Maybe I missed an increase in civility and a reduction in ad hoc attacks and references to “tax and spend libruls!” Maybe.

KARE11: Hundreds turn out for Grand Ave. meter forum

8 comments, which is a relief after the Star-Tribune and Pi Press:

  • Spam makes up 1/8 of the comments: “my friend’s sister makes $61 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $21010 just working on the laptop for a few hours.”
  • STD reference: “Hay, here is a idea,How about telling the City of St. Paul to live within it’s means?! Those “Meter’s” can spread like an STD if we let them start to do this.”

SCORE: I can’t even be bothered to score this, sorry.

Reddit: Various

The big thread is on Reddit’s /r/TwinCities. Tidbits:

  • User reads comments so I don’t have to: “The reaction to these meters is insane. The Summit Hill facebook page is the best. You would think they were trying to replace the sidewalks with burning hot coals.”
  • Time is money: “Am I the only one that would rather spend a few bucks on parking than spend fifteen minutes looking for a spot?”
  • Insinuation about tax revenues: “There is plenty of money for infrastructure, but both Minneapolis and St Paul both prioritize dumping money into “wouldn’t it be neat” projects.”
  • Standard issue comment about “the poor”: “We need parking vouchers so that the poor can continue to afford to shop on Grand.”

SCORE: Shockingly 3 ?. Maybe I’ve lowered my standards after reading the other comment threads.


Here are a few tweets we saw at @streetsmn. We aren’t scoring these, just sharing for the lulz. You’re welcome to come Tweet AT us, of course.




As ever, we love it when streets.mn readers comment. This is the only site on the internet where our brains don’t explode reading all the comments, because you’re all nifty.

So, do comment below!


About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!