Somerville's penny parking meters fazing out

March 24, 2011 8:21:00 PM PDT
Imagine being able to park your car for just a penny.

It may seem absolutely unheard of but in one town in New Jersey penny meters still exist.

For nearly half a century they have been a treasured perk for local drivers, but this long standing tradition may soon be coming to an end.

For anyone looking for a good deal.

This is definitely the best one you can find for parking.

Just about anywhere in this world!

"It's a heck of a deal and next to nothing," one resident said.

These are penny meters.

An antique for anyone working in traffic enforcement, but a real gem.

"I think it's better, a penny is good!" said a Somerville, New Jersey, "I think it comes down to history and tradition."

But the sun is setting on a tradition that this community has enjoyed for more than 50 years.

The people who've enjoyed it the most are those who park their car on Division Street heading into the post office.

Once you put a penny in you'll get exactly 12 minutes to take care of business.

"12 minutes, enough time to go in get a stamp and go," a resident said.

But these meters will be going away.

Already some of them have been taken off the street.

There are just six more left.

The problem is when the meters break down it's just not cost effective to fix them.

It costs a lot more to repair them than they take in on any given day.

They take in about 40 cents in pennies and nickels a day.

It's not exactly a windfall for officials looking to close budget gaps.

But the Mayor of Somerville says the penny meters have never really been about the money.

"It's really about convenience and people getting into the post office," Mayor Brian Gallagher said.

Mayor Gallagher says it's about a small town where the little things matter, even when it comes to a tradition whose time has come and gone.

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