The Amateur Parker

A Quick Review Parking Headlines from 2012

December, 2012

Drivers May Get

Cash Back for

Parking Tickets

NBCnews.com Chicago

Now I’ve heard everything. My American Express card gives me cash back, which my husband tries to hide, but which I find anyway and use to buy shoes and housewares. CVS gives me points for every dollar I spend, which I can later use to buy more toothpaste. And Staples sends me $2 in the mail when I’ve spent $1 million in its stores, or something like that.

But I guess it’s not quite the same. This is cash returned from a private parking lot company that did not post parking regulations and then did not refund parkers for illegitimate tickets.

7 Hurt When Limo Plunges Off [Elevated]

Parking Lot in LA

Associated Press

This seems to be happening more frequently. No one’s blaming the parking industry. It seems, the driver of this limo has boundary issues, spatial issues, mental issues, or a combination of all three, and shouldn’t be driving any kind of vehicle.

The driver said he thought the limo was in reverse, but it was actually in drive, and when he accelerated, he managed to push another car off the platform, with the limo in immediate pursuit.

Traffic Column: No 911 calls on illegal parking

The (Riverside, CA) Press-Enterprise

A faithful reader wrote to ask if she should call 911 to report handicapped parking spot violations. The columnist kindly clarified the definition of “emergency” and suggested she use a “non-emergency” number – 911 definitely an “emergency only” service. I might add that The Press-Enterprise serves my hometown and a large portion of the Inland Empire region of Southern California. We’re not all this clueless, but a few are.

City to re-impose parking

limits on Friendship Park

Yuma (AZ) Sun

That’s not very friendly now, is it? Actually, the city of San Luis, AZ lifted restrictions on unattended vehicles parked at the public park and then motorists started to abuse the privilege, treating the lot like long-term parking. Now, vehicles left overnight will be towed.

Moscow newspaper launches ‘Parking Douche’ app to publicly shame

bad parkers

New York Daily News

Here really is an app for everything. This new one lets citizens in Moscow take pictures of badly parked cars and their license plates. A few taps later and the picture and the name of its owners are published online. Granted, the Daily News may not be a valid source for news, but I still thought this was an interesting bit of information, if it’s true. If it’s not true, I just had a great idea.

Chico [CA] Could Start Charging for Airport Parking

The (Riverside, CA) Enterprise-Record

Just a headline I thought would make John Van Horn very happy – he being so keen on bringing about the end of free parking everywhere. Happy Holidays, John.

BMW Recalls Cars That Could

Roll Away When Parked

The Wall Street Journal

I laughed for 10 minutes before I could start writing my summary of this headline. Certain 7-Series cars made from the 2005 to 2008 have problems with their electronic transmission control systems that could lead to the cars rolling away after being parked. Sure enough, there is an electric key and a complicated procedure that must occur for the defect to show itself, but let me just advise the BMW drivers out there whose cars are driving themselves and doing it badly.

Whatever you do, don’t push the engine start/stop button two or three times within a short time and then get out of the car and stand next to it with your electronic key in your pocket, because your super-duper computer-operated transmission may shift into neutral instead of park. Oops. None of us wants to be run down by your malfunctioning Beamer, so please take it to the dealer ASAP.

Last but not least, a group of headlines that warmed my heart.

I wrote this Amateur Parker column on a sunny day at the end of October – sunny for me, that is. Across the country, Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast.

As I looked for parking-related headlines, I saw a slew of them inviting people in the path of the storm to park their cars in city and private garages at no cost. Cities turned off meters. Colleges set aside parking permit restrictions and even shuttled students from garages back to their apartments. In a true emergency, city, university and private parking professionals did their best to help.

This issue of Parking Today will be distributed near the holidays, and I thought these headlines were a real representation of the holiday spirit, and the American Way, and an example of the true nature of the parking industry.

City Parking Meters Free Through Wednesday

The [Philadelphia] Inquirer

No charge for parking during the storm of the century.

Free Parking for Annapolis [MD] Residents

ABCnews2.com Baltimore

Parking is free at all four city garages through the duration of the storm. Residents are encouraged to move their cars to garages where they

will be protected from the storm and leave the streets clear for emergency vehicles.

Free Parking in Lancaster City Garages


Free parking at all Lancaster [PA] Parking Authority garages until further notice, by order of the mayor.

Morristown HQ Plaza parking

garage open to residents


As Hurricane Sandy roiled toward Morristown, NJ, its parking garage was open for free to residents.

Students Can Move Cars to

Parking Garages During Storm


In Pennsylvania, Lehigh University students are advised to move their cars into campus parking garages, and shuttles will be provided to return them to their homes. No permits are required.

Melissa Bean Sterzick is an Amateur Parker and PT’s proofreader. She can be reached at Melissa@parkingtoday.com.