Sunday, September 6, 2009

Parking Ticket

Seeing the letter in The CdA Press today about downtown parking made me pull this one out. Back in the 50's & 60's when Dad was the manager of the Chamber of Commerce, he somehow got the City to pass out these "parking tickets" to cars obviously belonging to tourists. This was when downtown still had parking meters. Rather than a ticket, they got this postcard on their windshield. Probably weren't going to get many tourists to pay a parking fine anyway.
The complaint in the Press today was a "downtown business owner" complaining that the current parking laws penalize customers and employees and are just another means of the City taxing people. Cry me a river, bub. Parking tickets are not a new concept and have been an American fact of life for almost a century and for well over 50 years here in CdA.
I was a downtown CdA business owner for 25 years and saw first hand how parking worked. The number one problem with parking on streets in downtown are the huge number of people who own or work in stores and businesses located there. I've never understood how these folks expect customers when they take up parking in front of their own business all day long. I'd bet there still isn't a block downtown that doesn't have some owner/employee checking the clock and going out to move their car every two hours. I saw it on a daily basis for years. People sitting around waiting for customers in between the times they go out to erase the chalk mark on their tire or rolling forward enough to put it on the pavement. I watched as one guy first rolled his wife's car then did the same thing with his car parked right behind hers. This went on for a couple years, until they (mayhap for lack of customers) moved out.
As a business owner I bought every employee a monthly pass in the city parking lot. Two blocks is too far? Only in America will people pay $29.95 a month to be in an athletic club yet are still so lazy they'll park in a handicap space or in the "no parking" zone on a curb so they don't have to walk.
Downtown businesses are their own worst enemy. While crying how parking is keeping customers from their door, maybe Mr. Downtown Business Owner should take a look in the mirror. And it's not just parking. Check downtown in the winter to see how few businesses actually make an effort (or have enough pride) to keep their sidewalk cleared of snow and make a cut in the berm so people don't have to climb over it.
I used to be disgusted with many of my fellow downtown neighbors, now I'm just amused that attitudes haven't changed one bit.


  1. Dave, your dad was a very astute business man / Chamber manager. Those postcards are a PR gold medal.
    We don't have the parking problem in downtown Post Falls because we haven't re-created ours yet. But when we get to the point that parking meters are needed, I'm going to make sure we borrow your pop's clever idea. :)

  2. I doubt it would fly nowdays, Kerri. Locals would bitch and lawsuits would follow. You know how narrow minded some people are.