The Word on Parking


The Word on Parking

A recent search for news of the world of parking (you can find most of these stories in the PT News section on our Home Page at yielded the usual robberies, abductions and rate increases, as well as several more intriguing headlines. Here’s a sampler platter of the good, the bad and the ugly.
City workers’ wages to be docked for parking tickets
Well, isn’t it interesting: city workers with unpaid parking tickets? Many people out there are trying to stay one step ahead of the law, but you’d think city employees would know better. Now, one municipality is taking parking fines right out of their paychecks. I feel just a bit bad for them, because I wouldn’t want my employer to have that kind of power. But it’s like teachers making spitballs in the bathroom or firefighters lighting matches in the forest – getting caught is worse for insiders.
Car plunges 7 stories off Pennsylvania casino parking deck; 1 dies
I imagine this kind of headline gives parking structure builders a headache – or worse. From what I read, engineers and builders consider this scenario when they design parking structures. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to stop someone who is determined to do it.
Handicapped parking: Time for a crackdown on abuses
First, “crackdown” is not a real word. Second, bravo. Some publicity and a few random checks of handicapped placards, and abusers could be sufficiently deterred from their illegal activity. It’s just as easy for me to say “handicapped-parking thieves are deadbeats” as it is for the deadbeats to say “I’m not hurting anybody.” But they are wrong, and I am right. Integrity should keep them from behaving so badly, and if it doesn’t, the application of good manners would be appropriate. After that, they just need to get caught, because they are the kind of people who do the right thing only if they will be punished otherwise.
City council hikes downtown parking rates
Ever wonder why newspapers use a word such as “hikes” when they are referring to an amount that equals 25 cents per hour? There are two possible answers: first, the word “increase” didn’t fit in the space allowed; and second, the word “adjust” would not attract as many readers. I understand parking rate increases; however, I think that asking more than $1 per hour is unreasonable if coins are the only payment option. If I don’t have enough dimes, nickels and quarters in my purse to pay for two hours of parking at $1 per hour, nobody does.
NBA Finals parking: Arrive early or prepare to pay $50
Once again, parking at major sporting events goes for a premium. I’m not shocked anymore. I have little interest in professional sports and will probably never be required to pay such an astounding price for parking. So, knock yourself out, sports fans. You’re going to fork over $10 for horrible nachos, so you might as well spend $50 on parking – how else will you know you’ve enjoyed yourself?
Asphalt going green with “cool pavement’ in Phoenix
This is’ one of the coolest ideas I have read about parking all year, and when I say “cool,” I mean smart and innovative. Paint the parking lot green (using celadon solar-reflective cool pavement coating from Emerald Cities USA) and it will not absorb and then radiate so much heat, so they say. The numbers include a 90,000-square-foot lot and a reduced surface temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit on hot days. I’ve been to Phoenix on a hot day, and “hot” is not the right word. Try “scorching,” “boiling,” “sizzling,” “searing,” “burning” or “blistering.” (Thesaurus is a great tool.)
Lawyer charged with keying badly parked cars
So this guy goes a little nuts on people who can’t park. He keys their cars and leaves threatening notes on their windshields, wherein he calls them names, questions their intelligence and suggests they take parking lessons. This man is a lawyer, and though perhaps better educated than his victims, has less brainpower than they do. He vandalizes two cars in the same parking lot and for the notes uses stationery from his nearby athletic club in both incidents. The police are advised and set up a sting by doing a terrible parking job and waiting for the accused to attack again. He does, and they cart him off to jail.
High school students empty parking lot for Memorial Day ceremony
Instead of using the school parking lot for their cars, students at one high school drew an enormous American flag and wrote the names of more than 5,000 service members who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. It took 13 hours to complete the job. This is the kind of activity I love to hear about. One of my earliest columns was about the many great things I have done in parking lots – all of them legal and rated PG. Why not reconfigure a parking lot, even for just a day, into a memorial? What a terrific idea to use this enormous space as a canvas to honor members of our Armed Forces.
Melissa Bean Sterzick is an Amateur Parker and PT’s proofreader. She can be reached at

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