Is Parking Back? The Little Things, Opportunity


Is Parking Back? The Little Things, Opportunity

Celebrations like Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day are among the things that define the American Experiment. When we declared independence from England nearly 250 years ago, the country didn’t magically become ‘free’ and all our people ‘equal’.

We took off one cloak and replaced it with another. The founding fathers knew they were imperfect, and often had to trade like crazy to cut the deals that held our fledgling country together. That political infighting continues to this day.

The founders knew that change would come, but they understood that culture moves slowly. Certainly they wanted it “NOW,” but the differing social and economic forces prevented many of the changes needed.

The key word is not freedom, but opportunity. We have become so embroiled in accusations and petty hatred that we have forgotten that what makes us great, and in most cases, unique, is not the freedom we take for granted, but the opportunity we all have to succeed, and also to fail.

We have the independence to make what we want of our lives. Some start higher on the ladder than others, some have to struggle just to get started. Life isn’t fair. But each of us has the opportunity to make of ourselves what we can.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book about Outliers and their investment of 10,000 hours of practice in their field of endeavor has been scientifically debunked. There are other attributes including intelligence, age, talent, and even the selection of a field of focus. It is doubtful that Bill Gates could have become an NBA star, no matter how many hours he put into it, but neither could Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have guided a DOS program to the size of Microsoft. We each have our own path.

Given the opportunity and independence each of us has, it’s frustrating that others are more successful, and many of those without even having to put in the 10,000 hours. They seem to flow through life from one success to another, while we are still practicing and trying and failing. What the hell talent do they have that I don’t? As you continue to hunker down, take a bit to consider not our freedom, but our opportunity. It’s there. We just need to take advantage of it. 

I wrote last month that I was going to host a discussion on racism in parking. I had read a number of articles about the topic and felt maybe it was one that could be of value to our industry. I have come to the conclusion it is a topic that can be beneficial and could also be harmful.

My comments about racism last month did elicit the following thoughtful piece from the UK:

The topic “Is Parking Racist” seems to show the huge difference between U.S. and the UK and Europe. I would be interested to understand why, or if, anyone actually would think in this way.

The parking sector is so huge, that for instance, whilst offering permits cheaper in one residential zone to another may make one believe the thought of race played a part, actually, most authorities care about their residents over commuting visitors and that’s just one reason to have, for instance, cheap residential parking, regardless of race, and charge anyone else more.

With regards to enforcement, the extremes we have often heard are “you gave me a ticket, because of my colour, perceived race, height, size, the vehicle I am driving.” The difficulty with that statement in 2020 is that thousands of penalty charge notices (as called by some) are issued around the world, from unattended cameras, that are rear facing, so it’s not generally acceptable for a choice to be available based on anything other than the offence. Whilst carrying out enforcement outside a school, the priority has to be that of the kids.

It’s quite possible for parts of the parking industry, being so global, to make the question true, but I would be interested to see how the question pans out. It could be the perfect opportunity for us all to continue to design out the issue of any ambiguity based not just on race, but just being imperfect humans on any average day of the week.

I tend to agree. It seems to me that there is little evidence that in the current day racism has any more to do with the reasons parking rules were passed and enforced than the fact that a local business or neighborhood wanted to protect a valuable asset. 


We aren’t perfect, and we make mistakes. Can we not approach those mistakes without rancor and see them for what they are? Maybe overzealous, maybe in error, maybe a rule seeped in time and times have changed. Or maybe, just maybe, some rules offer solutions to problems and make our streets safer for all.

I welcome your comments and any discussion.

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” − Winston S. Churchill

Strangely, this quote from Churchill was not from a speech made to stir the British public on to victory against overwhelming odds, it was from a book he wrote in 1921, “Painting as a Pastime.” 

The great leader picked up a brush for the first time when he was 40, and found in the hobby a solace needed to help him through difficult times, whether it was the loss of his daughter, Marigold, or the horrendous terror of the Blitz.

He reminds us that life isn’t a destination, but a journey. So many see life as a trip to retirement, golf, cards, and sun. I’m saddened by that. It means that your selected path wasn’t one of enjoyment, but of toil.

If we enjoy the journey, we need not concern ourselves with its end. The last words you want to say should never be “I wish I had.” 

Winnie understood that, although you will never reach the metaphorical end of your life’s work, the goal is to enjoy the joy and glory of the climb.

Thanks to Astrid for putting this quote up on 

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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