Magazine

Point of View

Excited, Parking Zen and Motorcycles, All Souls’ Day and Merry …

John Van Horn

Let’s face it. It’s easy to get lazy. I have been writing the blog and then taking some of it and making it part of this column. So I decided that for this issue, I would write a Point of View from scratch.
I have been working on the December issue of PT for a week or so, and have had very interesting discussions with folks from Salt Lake City, Rochester, MN, and Charlotte, NC. You can read the results elsewhere.
The point is that one of the benefits of this job is that I get to meet people all over the country, and hear not only about their parking issues, but also a bit about them as people. Just from the conversations I can tell they are interested in their job, committed to their work, and excited about parking.
There, I said it. Excited about parking. And why not? Gary Griffiths, head of compliance for Salt Lake City, is installing a new system that has decreased his “dismissal” rate for citations by 87%. That’s nearly 2,000 tickets a month that normally would have been thrown out for some minor procedural issue. Not a bad deal.
***
P and D and motorcycles – I have wondered about this. What do motorcycles do when they park in a pay-and-display area?
Motorcycles are big in our industry. Two of my friends – the Veep of a major revenue control supplier and the head of parking and transportation at a mid-Atlantic university – both love their hogs. This policy, if they ever stop off in Chicago on their way to Sturgis, SD, was adopted by the city. It says they should save their receipt and if they get a ticket, bring in the receipt to prove they paid. Seems a bit cumbersome, but I guess it’s the only answer.
The P and D receipt has the time on it when it was purchased, and the citation has the time it was written. If the citation was written after the expiration time of the receipt, gotcha. In fact, this could all be handled by mail so it’s really not too much of a problem. Send a receipt (keep a copy) to the city in place of a check, and everything should be OK, right?
Is this covered in the latest edition of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”?.
***
I know it seems odd – you are reading this in December, but I am writing it on Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day, the day after All Souls’ Day, the Day of the Dead, Halloween. In years past, we have had only a few ghosts and goblins come to our door, but this year, we had a bunch. And I began to reflect on why.
Our neighborhood is an old established one. When we moved in, most of the people were retired or had kids in high school. Over the past two decades, they have moved on, and young families have moved in. They had babies who are now growing up. Most of the kids who came to our door were under 10. They were the face of America. Every color, race, mix and, I guess, creed. The young ones were with their parents, and to a kid, they were polite, respectful, and every single one said, “Thank you.”
The world is safe.
***
We did an article in PT a month or so ago about The Grove, a shopping center in Los Angeles and its very, very fancy valet lobby and valet operation. We concentrated on the design and “look” of the place, and in doing so, neglected to mention the folks that actually make it happen The location is run by Ampco System Parking. By all accounts, they do a first- rate job. My friend Arnold Klauber was kind enough to point out our omission. Thanks
***
As we head up to the holidays, I think about my friends who don’t celebrate Christmas because they aren’t Christians. “The season” can mean different things to different people. To me, it’s a time of wonder and hope, of rebirth and peace. The origin of one’s faith is less important than the way that faith affects our lives.
This time of year is important to all faiths, not just those who celebrate a birth that took place 2000 years ago. All faiths have a reason to gather and celebrate, to be with family and friends. As we move into the New Year, I can only hope that all of us take a moment to remember that it’s not the color of the decorations or the gifts that are exchanged, but the spirit that fills each of us that is important.

All the best to all of you, Christian and Jew, Moslem and Buddhist, and all the myriad of beliefs that fill our churches and temples.

Article Abstract from December, 2006




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