Automobiles

Commissioner Melvin Hazen and William Van Duzer, putting the first nickel in the parking meters ordered by Congress for a test in Washington in November 1938.

When Parking Meters Were a Hot Controversy in Washington

Washington, D.C., has 17,000 parking meters, and the necessity of feeding them is one of those annoyances that urban drivers grudgingly accept. Though it may be difficult to fathom today, there was a time in the early 20th century when the idea of collecting fees for parking spaces was opposed by the American Automobile Association and motorists who saw it as unfair taxation. As a result, it took several years to get approval to install the first meters on District streets.