I get it in the neck…


I get it in the neck…

Below I commented on an enforcement officer who gave a couple of parking tickets I thought were unwarranted, and noted that there is a reason why people hate parking enforcement. One MTJ says that they “expected better of me.”

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I love this industry and that I am extremely saddened that parking has such a bad reputation. I’m not sure what MJT found distasteful about my remarks, but I can guess that folks who head parking enforcement find it difficult to separate themselves from the police that track down drug dealers, rapists, and murderers. We need to remind ourselves that the folks who transgress with parking aren’t ax murderers.

There were two cases I commented in the blog. In one, a crew was actively working on a building front and had parked their vehicle in front. It was a red zone but not one that required access (fire, emergency vehicles, etc). I don’t know how many times I have seen construction crews parked in red zones. It was obvious they were in the process of working on the project. Their truck was marked as a construction vehicle and the back was open and tools were spread around. They were given a citation.

In the second case, an automobile delivery company was delivering cars. The driver had just pulled one off the truck. It was stopped in the street (on the side, not blocking traffic), still running, and he had gone back to secure his truck. The enforcement officer ran up and gave the car a ticket. (BTW it was the same enforcement officer and the incidents were about two minutes apart.)

With the tens of thousands of cars that are in violation of some parking rule at any given time in the city of Los Angeles, it seemed to me that writing these two tickets was abusive.

This could have been a “PR” moment for the parking business. The officer could have gone to the driver in both cases, pointed out the problem, and told them it would be great if they parked their car properly. (OK, maybe recorded their license numbers for future reference.) In the case of the construction crew, there are ways to get permits for such activity and she could have explained how to do that if they were going to be continuing to work in the area.

There would have been stories told for months about how well the parking enforcement folks treated these two, and how considerate they were. Instead exactly the opposite took place.

Perhaps MTJ expects better of me, but I can’t see how allowing officers to make on the spot decisions to give folks a “pass” can destroy the underpinnings of the republic. Some good training and supervision can help ensure that such a policy isn’t abused, and our relationship with the community would be much better. Gee, maybe people would put an extra quarter in the meter or take a bit more care in parking in the future. Who knows?


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. I agree with you that this “could” have been a PR moment. But you are making one major assumption. You are assuming that there haven’t been 5 other “PR moments” in the past. If we treated every situation in the manner that you described then there would never be a citation issued for these somewhat trivial infractions. But even the smaller infractions need to be enforced, and most importantly they need to be enforced consistently.
    I think your characterization that some enforcement personnel are sometimes overzealous . But I would argue that even police officers have this issue, and that both them and parking enforcement needs both. You know the type. He gets you for speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, reckless driving, not having your seat in the upright position, you didn’t call your mother on mother’s day….every last thing he can write you for, he does. Then you have the officer who gives you a BS ticket, no points, and says just pay the fine…… Just like how hockey teams need 1 enforcer so there star players don’t get ruffed up every play. You don’t hit the star to hard because you fear the repercussions.
    So I will ask you. As you are driving down the road 10 miles an hour over the speed limit, which officer do you fear? .
    Isn’t that what enforcement really is? Changing people’s behavior because of fear for the penalties. There are two ways to change people’s behavior. Its my “Wine and Dine or Fine rule”. I can either Wine and Dine you and encourage people to park where I want them to park( cheaper price, ease of access) or I can force them by having rules but there has to be some fine associated with it. I don’t like to load up on rules and fines but sometimes that is the only way to change the behavior.
    Bottom line is that we need both types. When I have a situation that requires a hard line approach because I have worked with parker and warned them but to no avail, who am I sending?
    I just think that from the window you saw these interactions from does not give you enough information to base a judgment on. I am willing to bet that both of these contractors have either been warned multiple times or have many many citations.
    One final note…………
    Don’t think that contractor is paying that ticket. You are in your rent! If they were half decent contractors they would have budgeted for it in their estimate.

  2. Hay Guys,
    There is a sure fire way to avoid all things parking officers and that is to consider your own car parking rental space. This is becomming a rapidly growing trend in many countries. as an example there are services like http://www.carparkingrentals.com.au/ that are making the task of finding your very own rental space easy. Not to mention the additional income one can make from leasing out spare parking space they may have!

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