Rummage through those giant brains of yours and pull out some brilliant ideas! A resident posed a problem to the city council at its March 24th meeting. A stay-at-home mom, she would like to drop by her friends’ houses or Jequie Park* and NOT get a ticket for parking in a permit-only zone. These zones are primarily to keep out commuter parkers, she said, so wouldn’t it make sense to allow city residents from other neighborhoods to park there for 2-3 hours?
She was following up on a letter to the council. In her letter she made a couple of suggestions: 1) the city make parking stickers available to city residents, and 2) that drivers leave an indicator on their dashboard showing what time they parked so that police could allow a 2-3 hour parking period.
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Councilmember Reuben Snipper had already discussed her letter with police chief Ronald Ricucci, who according to Snipper was less than keen with either idea. Ricucci reportedly said that there was already a system in place – the resident visitee has only to call police and ask them not to ticket the visitor’s car. This is similar to the system used when residents are having a party with several guests who need to park in permit-parking neighborhoods. Residents in these areas get one visitor’s pass as well.
Snipper said he felt this was too “ad hoc,” that it would be up to people to call, pick up a permit, or otherwise make an extra effort that parents of small children (the people he felt would be most in need of this) would not have the extra time, energy, or brain cells required to perform.
Certainly, a resident’s phone-call to the police may be the easiest way to deal with visitors in a permit-parking zone, but it won’t solve the problem of parking around Jequie Park.
Councilmember Josh Wright suggested having scratch-tickets that visitors place in their car window, as is done in New Haven, Connecticut, he said. He speculated that the internet might facilitate a solution, perhaps parking permits that could be accessed online and printed at home.
The mayor ended the discussion by dumping the problem onto the staff, asking them to come back with suggestions.
So, help the overburdened staff, Dear Readers. What is your idea? The best solution will be a “little-or-no” one. Little or no expense to the city, little or no staff or police time, and little or no effort for residents.
An internet-based solution seems obvious, but keep in mind that not everyone has internet access.
In other city council news, the council took a break from meeting this week, saving their stamina for twice-weekly budget meetings later this spring. They’ve been enjoying (in a very broad sense of the word) a series of citizen committee interviews (“So, you want to serve on this committee. Well, the requirements are pretty strict – can you breathe?”) and the like.
Councilmember Seamens tried to stir things up by mentioning that Takoma Park is no longer on the environmental cutting edge along with such cities as Raleigh, NC which, ahem, recently banned garbage disposals. So, why don’t WE do that, huh? Ya wanna? C’mon, you guys, it’ll be fun!
OK, he didn’t say it quite like that, but the other council members reacted as if he had, looking down at their shoes as though to say “Naw, we can’t do THAT, we’d get in TROUBLE.”
*How do YOU pronounce “Jequie”, Dear Readers? Most councilmembers (and Your Gilbert) tend to pronounce it “JECK-ee,” the aforementioned citizen pronounced it “JACK-EE,” and the city staff pronounce it something like “JECK-you-aa.”