The only thing more irritating than not being able to find a parking spot is having to rip a $100 bill into tiny, coin-shaped fragments that fit inside the meter when you do. Give your fingers a well-earned rest with today’s Groupon: for $9, you get a Santa Cruz ParkCard, including $15 worth of parking and the initial $3 cost of the reloadable card, from the City of Santa Cruz (an $18 total value). Additional value can be purchased at the Santa Cruz Parking Office. This Groupon expires on August 31, 2011.
This plastic smart card kicks loose change to the curb with $15 of preloaded money, which can be used on parking meters and Smart Bicycle Lockers across the city. Drivers simply insert the ParkCard until their initial balance flashes four times. The card then negotiates a gentlemen’s accord with the hermitical meter dweller, agreeing to buy time in 25-cent increments that gradually increase until the desired amount is displayed. As soon as the curbside patron removes the card, the transaction is complete and the amount shown is subtracted from the card’s balance. Unused time can be credited back to your ParkCard by using the same method upon return. ParkCards may be refilled at Pay-by-Space machines.
The ParkCard also grants access to more than 100 Smart Bicycle Lockers in downtown Santa Cruz, meaning the days are numbered for copper-laden pockets that undermine bicycle aerodynamics. For three cents an hour, lockers protect two-wheeled steeds in a spacious shelter.