GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Finding a place to park in North Dakota usually isn’t a big problem. With fewer than 10 residents per square mile, the state is famous for its emptiness.
Yet lawmakers here are thinking about bringing back parking meters—which have been banned from the streets for 68 years and are still widely regarded with hostility.
Free parking “is pretty much regarded as a basic human right,” Mike Jacobs, a retired newspaper editor here, wrote in a history of the meter issue. Some North Dakotans take pride in the distinction of living in the nation’s only state without on-street parking meters. (Meters are allowed in parking lots.)This explains the placement of parking meters in Williston: in parking lots but not on Main Street.
North Dakotans have been spared meters for so long that some don’t realize the technology has changed, allowing people to pay with credit cards or smartphone apps instead of coins.I assume New Yorkers think we still have hitching posts on Main Street and Indians are driving buffalo over cliffs.