Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Better Solution?

Every so often a person is presented with a problem that doesn't seem to have a good solution.

My wife Charli has been issued one of these situations and probably won't end up with the results she was hoping for. Because I can, I thought it would interesting to hear your opinions on how you would deal with it, if you were in charge. Or, if your city actually has a plan in place already that addresses this same issue.

Ok - I suppose now would be a good time to explain the problem.

The other night Charli came out to watch Pete and I play at the Veranda Wine Bar. Prior to coming out, she'd had a VERY busy day and never had the opportunity to eat a good meal. After only 2 glasses of wine, she realized that she was feeling the effects of the alcohol and wisely handed me her car keys. We decided to leave her car parked at the meter for the night and pick it up in the morning. I figured this wouldn't be a problem since the meters are not enforced during the weekend.

What I hadn't noticed, was that half a block down the street was a sign that was posted, "NO PARKING BETWEEN 2 A.M. AND 7 A.M." which is obviously a larger override to the weekend non-enforcement rules posted on the meters. Needless to say, when I picked up our car in the morning, there was a $20 parking ticket waiting for us.

The problem with this kind of enforcement, is that it encourages people who are responsible enough to know they shouldn't drive while intoxicated, to drive anyway - so they don't incur a $20 thank you note. Especially if you're already paying another $15-20 for a cab in some cases.

I know what the city is going to say. They need the streets cleared for sweeping and snow removal. And that brings me to my question:

What kind of policy should a city have that encourages people to leave their cars when they've had too much to drink - but still allows for the street maintenance they desire?

Or is there no solution? That's what I'm curious about. How does your city handle this? What would you do?

It seems to me that the number of cars being abandoned overnight would be few and far between. Most people don't want the hassle of having to find someone to drive them downtown to retrieve their car the next morning - especially since they would probably be nursing a hangover from the reason they left their car there in the first place.

But if someone was actually responsible enough to decide to go through all that, I would hope there would be some kind concession.

Fining them $20 isn't what I had in mind.


Waya said...

$20 is chump change my friend. In Boston, they actually tow your car away AND fine you too. And it ain't cheap, the towing cost usually runs in the $100-$150 for overnight storage b/c there happens to be a no parking due to snow removal or street cleaning. Speaking from painful experience here Jeff!! So let's do the math, if you can't get a ride to the towing lot, you'd need a taxi. Here's the math, parking fine+towing cost+taxi ride = one freaking expensive night out!!

Anonymous said...

"Oh justice, how many sins are committed in thy name" It depends on who you are. Did you tell the police that you were AUSTINS father? Seriously, why not call in to the police to notify them of a breakdown or a concern about comsumption problem?

yellojkt said...

20 busck seem pretty light. I can't imagine any real street cleaning gets done that late. They are just trying to keep people from abandoning cars. They ought to give a one night grace period.

Anonymous said...

I read about a guy who has a DWI prevention service. He rides a small scooter to your location, puts it in your trunk, drives you home, then leaves on his scooter. Maybe the college could start one of these programs.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing wise to say.

The only solution I could think of was that a bar could be able to give parking "passes" to those leaving a car to put in the window. But I bet that would be abused...

No off-street parking nearby eh?

My roommate in college actually had a big boot put on her car for leaving it in the school parking lot too many times. I guess they want kids to drink and drive as well.

Mom Thumb said...

What if you get in your car and it won't start, and you are forced to leave it parked there? It seems that there could be some common sense and discretion in some of these cases, and CERTAINLY, if it involves someone driving under the influence. It doesn't seem right to punish Charli for a wise and responsible decision. Unfortunately, my recent experience with the court system has shown me that they really aren't interested in your 'excuses,' only your money.

Anonymous said...

What about some kind of parking area around the bar/club that was exempt from the no overnight parking rule? It may be open to abuse, but as you say I suspect not many people would want to leave their cars overnight too often.

I'd be a noodge and take it to court just to prove my point, but that involves taking time off work and is not an option for many people as it would end up costing more than $20.

Bugwit said...

Well, here in Phoenix, the way they deal with overnoght parkers is to arrange for human smugglers to steal your car and use it run immigrants back and forthover the border until you car quits, get wrecked or confiscated.

But, I will say that if you parked in a secure pay lot overnight, it would cost about $20. So you cuold just think of it as a fair deal.

Alternatively, you could make a sign to put in your windshield. ON one side, it could say "PLease don;t give me a ticket, I'm drunk!"

On the other, it could say "PLease don't ticket me, I hooked up!"

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a moral quandry. Most of me says fight it, but all is safe and sound, so I'd chalk that one up to experience. But here in Seattle, they would have towed the car to the polar opposite of where you actually live and charge a vast amount. That will be 2 cents please!

Anonymous said...

If I were in this position, I'd go before the judge and plead insanity.


Wendy and/or Don said...

Isn't there a parking lot or a street around the corner you could have parked the car in or on? BTW I saw you on the Mama Blog and was surprised to see that a Blog in Houston had someone talking about ice on the roof and then I found out you are in St. Cloud! (I live in Avon when I'm not in Australia!)

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

hey Wendy and/or Don - You live in Avon..., MN?!! No way! What a small freakin world. You read a Houston blog from Australia and stumble on me, who lives 15 minutes from you in MN. Too funny.

Thanks for stoppin by. As you know, Downtown St. Cloud has VERY limited parking. The lots fill up by 7 p.m. and don't open back up until after 2 a.m. again. My wife was actually lucky to find the meter on the street that night. Anyway, hope you're enjoying your winter... I mean summer - or whatever it is now down there!