You and Your Bright Ideas

Dear Readers,

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.


* * * *
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.”

– Gilbert

*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.”

The park is named for Takoma Park’s once-sister city, Jequié, Brazil. And, according to this Takoma Voice article by Diana Kohn, the staff have it right.
.

About the Author

Gilbert
Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

8 Comments on "You and Your Bright Ideas"

  1. Tom Gagliardo | April 3, 2008 at 4:04 pm |

    1. Szh-eck-ee
    2. The parking permit argument is a hundred years old. Cops say its too much trouble to monitor time, residents say ban ’em all. I say allow two hours without a permit like D.C. They still give out plenty of tickets, which is the point, right?

  2. Reuben Snipper | April 3, 2008 at 5:02 pm |

    Reuben Snipper is the correct spelling…
    [Gilbert notes: Sorry, but you’ll have to prove that with a birth certificate, three photo IDs, and a set of fingerprints from each of your five grandparents.]

  3. Charlie Pilzer | April 3, 2008 at 5:20 pm |

    It would be most convenient to allow for short term (1-2 hour) parking in a residential zone.
    In many European cities, they use “parking circles”. Little clocks on the dashboard or back window on which one sets the timeof arrival. If the auto is parked longer than the allowed parking time (say 2 hours), one receives a ticket. One can find a sponsor to print the circles (often times a bank) so no cost to the city. And it’s low tech, no internet needed.
    The city could restrict use of parking circles to city residents only – that is, the auto must have a residential parking sticker in order to use the circle in another zone.
    Tom Gagliardo’s comment to change to allow for 2 hour parking in a residential zone is a very reasonable alternative too. It does mean that the parking aides or police need to record the time of first noticing “out of zone” autos but there is technology to deal with that.
    [Gilbert notes: the woman who brought this up mentioned these “dials” used in Germany. This is the idea the police chief was cool to. Not everyone in the city lives in a permit-parking area so not all of us have parking stickers. However, isn’t it possible to see the owner’s address when looking up a license plate number? Isn’t that what police do whenever they are about to issue a ticket?]

  4. Al;ain Thery | April 3, 2008 at 5:45 pm |

    Don’t you have to pay for a resident parking sticker? Since I park in my driveway I never bothered getting one. Given how much we pay to live in this city wouldn’t it be simpler to register your car and get a yearly sticker for free for that car that would allow you to park for two hrs anywhere in the city?

  5. I think Tom’s idea #2 is the easiest of all. No commuter is going to park in a 2 hour zone!! This concept costs the city next to noghting except a few signs. And few of us… kids or not, would be at the park more than 2 hours at a time. Seems a really simple solution.
    Reuben’s idea of sending out stickers to residents works too!
    [Gilbert notes: “sending out stickers” would require staff time, possibly a new staff position, establishing and maintaining a registry and residency-confirmation system , printing and mailing costs, and higher taxes to pay for it all]

  6. Elizabeth Forbes Wallace | April 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm |

    I have received only 1 parking ticket in Takoma Park in 12 years….and that was at an expired meter. Are parking violations in other areas really enforced?
    Let’s KIS and program the police number into cell and landlines — it should be there for your own safety anyway. Then hit the button before you get out of the car or first thing when you put your things down when visiting a neighbor. Like all habits, it takes getting used to…and taking responsibility for.

  7. Elizabeth Forbes Wallace | April 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm |

    I have received only 1 parking ticket in Takoma Park in 12 years….and that was at an expired meter. Are parking violations in other areas really enforced?
    Let’s KIS and program the police number into cell and landlines — it should be there for your own safety anyway. Then hit the button before you get out of the car or first thing when you put your things down when visiting a neighbor. Like all habits, it takes getting used to…and taking responsibility for.

  8. Rebecca Hawes | April 18, 2008 at 10:07 am |

    So, until such time as someone gets around to “allowing” the rest of TP to use parks that are w/in our own city but a little too far for “hoofing it”, guess I’ll still have to tell my kids we can only go to Jequie (park that is, not the city) on the weekends…unless we make friends w/ someone in that permit zone and call them before we go to the park to ask them to call the TP Police for us? At least that’s my read – am I correct?

Comments are closed.