Great Fried Chicken, $3000 in Parking Tickets


Great Fried Chicken, $3000 in Parking Tickets

I can’t believe I actually disagree with Mark, sort of…

First the setup – Woman has a restaurant in Pittsburgh and she tries to deliver goods to her store but is constantly getting ticketed while unloading. There is a small alley behind the store and it has limited loading areas and no parking signs. “No one told her parking would be such a nightmare, said Franklin”……..”I want to see them give me some loading space,” she said. “How are we supposed to survive as a business without that?”……..”No Parking” and “15-minute Loading Zone” signs line the narrow alleyway………” Read the entire story here

Mark’s Comment: Her business has racked up over $3,000 in tickets in just 3 months.  Does nobody think ahead about how they are going to deal with certain operational issues, seems like if she would have simply read the signs or talked to one of the other businesses on the block she would have known what the deal was?

My rebuttal: OK agreed she may not be the best at problem solving there in the land of the origin of the Ohio, great football, and home of Marcy, but she can cook damn good fried chicken. I believe that she actually contacted all the folks she mentioned, and there is a problem with deliveries on this street. It would seem to me that a reactive city government would be able to go down, take a look, and work out a way to solve this problem in a way that didn’t cost “Big Mama” three grand a month. My guess is that they will, now, after the local paper got wind of it. Although she would probably do better sending the mayor a couple of plates of Chicken and Pulled Pork with a side of greens. If all else fails, bribe.

This is typical of bureaucracies. One office passes it off to another, and everyone is too busy to really look at and fix a citizen’s problem. PPA didn’t have a record…Police couldn’t be reached…etc.

What all towns need are ombudsmen who know just what to do and when someone calls, can send the problem to the right office and then follow up to be sure someone does something.

All that having been said – maybe this great cook needs a good business manager.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

5 Responses

  1. “needs a good business manager”
    That sums up the issue right there. The problem with most people trying to open a “Mom and Pop” businesses in a downtown is that they aren’t “business” people in the same sense that someone opening a McDonalds or a PF Changs is. Mom and Pop’s don’t have a manual or a check list to work off of to help them make sure they address issues like loading zones, parking, trash disposal, etc. If the issue isn’t required as part of the permitting process then odds are they aren’t aware of it unless they happen to have previous experience with opening businesses in a downtown setting.
    The City can argue that the signs were in place prior to her opening and she should have been aware of the parking limitations, and they would be right. She can argue that the City knew she would be doing deliveries and other services that would require close parking and shouldn’t have issued her the permits without ensuring those issues were covered, and she would be right. This isn’t about right or wrong, it’s like you said it’s about making it work for everyone.
    At the end of the day somebody has to take responsibility for making sure a business has all their i’s dotted and t’s crossed before they open. I don’t think anybody wants to see more or bigger government. Maybe a simple solution to avoiding situations like this in the future would be for the city to make available a simple checklist for anyone that is thinking of opening a business, a checklist that could include the basics like making sure you have considered parking at the location where you are planning to open. My guess is you could download one off the internet for free, so there shouldn’t be any great cost involved.

  2. OK, OK, I agree that the behavior you describe may be typical, but please don’t lump us all in together. There are LOTS of beauracracies that do exactly what you say should be done – you just don’t hear about them because good deeds don’t get reported in the paper.
    There are an awful lot of talented, motivated parking managers and elected officials out there that actually care about making parking situations workable for businesses, students, visitors and residents. They just don’t get recognition in the media, so it’s easy for industry pundits to make a generalization that may not be accurate.

  3. I don’t think anyone was generalizing or “lumping” other than what I said about the typical “Mom and Pop” level of experience with opening a downtown location.
    There are definitely a great many cities out there where they have their act fully together with regards to these types of issues, maybe those of you in that category should develop some sort of “best practices” manual or something. The parking industry has them, as do the various organizations representing downtown organizations (BID’s, Main St Associations, etc).
    The unfortuneate reality is that the press rarely reports anything positive, so most people’s perception of any industry (parking, government, big oil, Walmart, etc) is based on the negative press being generated by stories like the one above.

  4. Brandy, Thanks for keeping me honest…You are right, of course, but I still content the amount of service one receives from a bureaucracy is inversely proportional to the size of the community in which it exists. You folks in Burlington have your act together.

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