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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Parking Wars - Chattanooga style


Interesting, I looked up the definition of gripe, and found that one definition is "To have sharp pains in the bowels."  Huh, that's not the kind of griping I meant.

I haven't even started this post, and already I'VE DIGRESSED!

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I got a parking ticket?  Of course you do, because you hang on my every word, don't you?  Just in case you don't, here is a shameless link to get you to read that post (oh, and one before that) - you know, to boost my readership up to 7 or 8 people.

Last Ticket:  Repeat Offender

The one before that:  The Worst Day Ever - (should that be, "The Worst Day, Ever"? Damn those tricky commas.)

In the meantime, My youngest daughter got one, again just running into a store for a minute.

OK, cool, we didn't feed the meter for the three minute coffee dash, and I overstayed my meter at lunch.  Whatever.  Here's the deal, though:  The City of Chattanooga, a city that depends HEAVILY on tourism, has farmed out its parking enforcement to Republic Parking - a for profit company that has a vested interest in making as much money as possible - presumably, their contract rewards them for writing lots of tickets.

The result of this contract is that Republic now has millions (yes, actually millions) of parking attendants with portable ticket writing machines on their backs.  Some of the attendants have on uniforms, some are in plain clothes. I'm not sure, but I'd bet that some of them are hiding in trash cans, dressed as trees, covered by Cloaks of Invisibility - all to make sure that they pounce as soon as that meter expires.

Look, Mom all my readers.  I'm not suggesting that they neglect their jobs.  What I am suggesting is that they maybe give the people who are parking, spending money, buying stuff, contributing to the coffers of the City, a teeny-tiny break.  Or else, you know what?  People might think twice about coming to downtown - ask yourself what the reasons are for people not going to Redbank?  Could it be that the city government there made going into Redbank an unpleasant adventure, liable to cost you money, as you unwittingly broke laws while simply driving down the road (redlightcamerasredlightcamerasredlightcameras)?

Point is, oh government, what are you trying to achieve?  Do you want to penalize the crap out of someone who has overstayed the meter by a couple of minutes, or are you trying to keep people from leaving their cars on side-of-the-road parking places for hour after hour (which is where the parking issue lies)?

If the former - then keep doing as you are doing - if the latter, I suggest you maybe ease up. Just a little.

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