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Parking meters generate revenue while increasing drivers' woes

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The revenue from parking violations is not going to save the City of Detroit. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr might think that meter money and parking fines will give the city an economic boost, but the city’s alleged financial hole is too deep for the meter maids or meter men to issue enough violations to turn the tide.

With that being said, let us look at this situation from a driver’s perspective.

Last weekend a couple of my family members and their close friends visited the River Walk Saturday evening. Somewhere between 8:30 pm and 9:00 pm both parties received parking tickets. Their comments were that they were not aware of the policy for parking during weekends. Furthermore, if someone is really enjoying their outing, then going back and forth to a parking meter would be a drag; thereby; patronizing the city at night might deliberately turn into thoughts of going elsewhere.

Okay, there is a rule or something that says, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”. However, the money in salaries that is being paid for the meter maids and meter men to work on weekends must translate into mucho dollars. Yet, patrons coming to the city that are coming for entertainment are bringing mucho entertainment dollars: Be it a concert, a movie, dining, or shopping.

Ticketing patrons for parking during peak entertainment hours just might be defeating the purpose of making Detroit more attractive for visitors. Send the meter folks home and let the good times roll for persons wanting to have fun in the “D”.

Furthermore, what about having the meter maids and meter men walk their designated beats instead of driving? With the increasing prices of fuel and auto maintenance, the latter might translate into fiscal responsibility while promoting physical fitness.

Misery at the meter

I am an employee at Wayne State University (WSU) in the City of Detroit. Once in a while I park on the street in order to make it on time to a meeting on campus or to make it to work on time.

Thursday April 17, 2014 was a day that I needed to make it to work on time. I pulled into a vacant spot, which is a rarity around WSU. I counted out my two dollars’ worth of change, got out of my car, walked closer and closer to the parking meter collection box, attempted to put my quarters in the box only to have them rejected. Finally I noticed a hand written notice on the meter in black marker stating that, “This meter does not accept money”. Seriously? Hand written? I wanted to wipe the black marker inscription off of the meter but I try to be a law abiding citizen.

Out of frustration I broke the law and did a U-turn on Cass. I landed in another vacant parking spot. Unexpectedly, the parking fairy appeared to be on my side. Once again I counted out my two dollars’ worth of change, got out of my car, walked closer and closer to the meter collection box and attempted to deposit my quarters in the meter. Notwithstanding, my quarters were spit back out at me.

I looked on the meter for the hand written notice in black marker; but there was none. The glass covering on the meter which revealed the individual numbered spaces was cloudy, dirty, scratched, and stained. However, after squinting like I needed double bifocals, there was a blinking message behind the glass that spelled out a number to call then codes to enter if one desired to park in this particular space.

Since the parking message was blinking faster than a humming bird can flap its wings, I could not remember it. Furthermore, I did not have a Bic handy in my trench coat to copy down the encrypted message. Foolishly, I got out of my car with change only.

I stood for several seconds watching the meter employees circling the block waiting for me to walk away without copying the numbers down or to just drop dead on the spot so they could issue me a Parking Violation.

“The purpose of the Municipal Parking Department is to provide economical on-street and off-street public parking services; to enforce City of Detroit parking ordinances; and to coordinate parking with economic development projects throughout the city of Detroit”.

The last phrase of the Purpose Statement is not a good flow to, or, a logical connect with David A. Sampson’s idea of economic development. The phrase states that “…to coordinate parking with economic development…” is the inconsistent expression in question. David A. Sampson, Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that economic development entails the following.

The bottom line of economic development today is about building prosperity…. The focus of economic development should be on supporting innovation, increasing prosperity for American businesses and ensuring American workers have the skills to remain the most productive workforce in the world…. America’s capacity to innovate will serve as its most critical element in sustaining economic growth.

Whether Mr. Sampson’s idea of economic development meshes with the City of Detroit’s Parking Department is the content for another article, or for the philosophically minded who like to debate the syntaxes of economic development.

I desire not to engage in the above. I just want to be able to park at a meter that is metered to accept my change, not one with hand written comments or numbers to call or codes to download.

And in the age of rampant identity theft, I would rather post my credit card numbers on the side of a Detroit City bus rather than slide my card into a city meter—the possibilities of foul play are endless.

I wonder if Kevyn Orr ever received a Parking Violation.

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