Sunday, June 3, 2007

Illegal Parking – Why Must a Citizen Complain?

In little, old, sleepy Woodstock why should it be necessary for citizens to complain about recurring parking violations? Why don’t the police notice these violations and act on their own initiative to ticket violators?

Why kinds of parking violations are there?

For starters, how about the no-parking zone on the corner in front of Starbuck’s (actually in front of Read Between the Lynes), where drivers stop “just for a minute” to run for their fix of latté, sometimes even leaving the engine running and/or kids in the car? These drivers not only park illegally, they obscure the sight line of drivers heading for the mailboxes and put pedestrians at risk.

Should they get a warning? No way! These drivers know it’s illegal to park there. They do so probably expecting a warning, if they get any contact by police at all. I say, ticket them the first time and every time.

How about the No Parking zone on Lincoln Avenue, just off Tryon, by St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Sunday mornings? There are usually 1-2 cars in the No Parking zone. Now, if the City wants to change the sign to read “No Parking, except Sunday mornings”, then it would be okay. Until it does, officers should ticket the cars in the No Parking zone.

Next, how about drivers who block sidewalks? The motor vehicle code is clear that you don’t park across a sidewalk. Heck, even common sense would tell you that you don’t park across a sidewalk. Do the police ticket these drivers? Well, maybe (possibly), if someone calls and complains. Why should pedestrians and children on bikes have to enter the street to pass?

Should it really be necessary to call and complain? No! The motor vehicle code is clear. How long does it take to write a parking ticket? Sixty seconds? An officer on routine police patrol should be noticing these violations and handling them himself. No citizen should ever have to call about them.

Many houses and apartment buildings are over-rented; i.e., the managers rent to occupants with too many cars. No one cares where these cars are parked, as long as they are parked legally.

How about drivers who park facing the wrong way on a street, with the driver’s door nearest the curb? Except on a one-way street, such parking is illegal. But it happens all over Woodstock, because there has been no enforcement. Again the beat officer patrolling his territory (beat) should handle this. If he wanted to play “nice”, he could contact the driver and give him one warning. And ticket him the next time. And there will be a next time. Why is this type of parking illegal? Because a driver has to drive on the wrong side of the roadway TWICE: once when parking and a second time when leaving the parking space.

Got your own parking complaints? How about listing some addresses of frequent problems?

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