Magazine

The Amateur Parker Ö

Parking Headlines and the Average American

By Melissa Bean Sterzick

As a member of the literate public, I am inundated with news reports at every turn. I read the news online, glimpse headlines at the grocery store and chase ticker tapes across my TV. The presidential race is omnipresent. Gas prices and the housing market, unemployment, Iraq, hurricanes and so many other current events are done up in bold type and drilled into my brain.
If itís not breaking news, itís the softer stuff: stories of miracle survival, fad diets, celebrity weddings, dog saves boy, cat saves dog, parakeet flies away and returns after 10 years in a coma, etc.
With so much going on in this world, would you believe how much coverage the mainstream media give to the parking industry? I Googled ďparkingĒ and was rewarded with 92,682 entries. It wouldnít surprise me if I read at least one article about parking every day. And these are not articles about technology and precast concrete; these are stories about parking and how it affects the everyday American.
Hereís my take on a few of those 92,682 headlines:
Sheriff to Invalidate All City Employeesí Parking Placards
What? City employees violating parking privileges? Astonishing. The only drivers who really deserve special parking privileges, in my opinion, are the disabled, and they donít seem to get out much. Thatís why we all drive past those empty blue spots and curse. Ambulances, surgeons and the president should also receive special consideration.
But city officials need to suck it up and park like the rest of us. Maybe they would do a better job for their constituents if they drove a mile or two in our wheels.
Parking Laws ĎConfuse Most Driversí
Itís true.
Moms Debate Loading Question in Supermarket Parking Lots
I actually mentioned this quandary in my last column. Do I load the kids then the groceries or groceries then the kids? And how do I return the shopping cart without losing custody? The article actually clarified the kids vs. groceries question by suggesting parents load their ďmost precious cargoĒ first.
Makes sense, because you are less likely to be hijacked in a parking lot than you are to be run down by a Cadillac driven by two beady eyes and a wrinkled forehead. Kids first. But what do you do if you live in Phoenix? Whatís going to melt faster Ė the ice cream or the fifth-grader?
Police Identify Man Shot to Death in Bar Parking Lot
Woman Is Allegedly Mugged in Restaurant Parking Lot
Men Robbed in Parking Lot
Shooting at Nightclub Parking Lot Injures 11
These four headlines are unsettling. They donít make me want to stop parking; they make me want to stop leaving my house altogether.
Student Parking Woes Spark Concern
Parking in college towns is often an issue. If the off-campus parking situation is under control (people donít like college students parking in their neighborhoods, for various reasons), then itís the on-campus parking that is either expensive or inadequate or too far from the library or too dark at night.
College students, speaking from experience, are needy and have a strong sense of entitlement. Itís all that youthful enthusiasm and idealism. Give them time and they will give up defining parking as a woe and transfer the title to other, more woeful life experiences such as mortgages, terminal illnesses and war.
Preservation, Not Parking
People like to park, but they hate it when trees are replaced by a parking lot. Nobody cares about all the trees we kill to build our houses, fuel our cars, fatten cattle and stick in our windows at Christmastime. But kill a tree for a stretch of lined concrete and all hell breaks loose. Still, I bet that tree wonít seem so important when youíre carrying 10 grocery bags an extra 25 yards.
Parking Fines Double
Thatís going to hurt.
Couple Fined for Parking on Their Lawn
Home owners associations around the world rejoice. And itís not just the neighborhood busybodies who think parking on the lawn is, uh, trashy. Parking on your lawn says so much about how you feel about Ö your lawn.
And if you are indifferent to the appearance of your lawn, you also might be indifferent to the appearance of your house. And that could mean a lot of things and none of them are good for your neighborhood.
City Takes Steps to Curb Parking Hogs
Hogs can drive? Who knew?
Melissa Bean Sterzick is PTís amateur parker and proofreader. She can be reached at Melissa@parkingtoday.com.

Article Abstract from November, 2008




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