More on Parking Wars!!!

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More on Parking Wars!!!

If you haven’t heard already, A and E has a new "reality" series called "Parking Wars." I mentioned it late last month and said I would reserve comment until I saw and episode. Melissa Sterzick, our own "Amateur Parker" has written a piece that will appear in February’s PT. You blog readers get a preview…

I thought I’d heard everything until I read about the
latest reality show: Parking Wars. I’ll be honest, when I first found out about
a magazine called Parking Today I was sure it could only be published
quarterly. How much could be written about parking? Certainly not 40- 50-
60-pages worth every month. But it’s true: there is a lot to say about parking.
Most of it is stuff amateur parkers like me don’t ever think about.

There’s the technology: lights, meters, P&D machines
and signage. There’s the legal aspect including the workings of enforcement
agencies, city ordinances governing parking, parking enforcement, and the
building of parking facilities. There are also the financial aspects always
under debate: things like Shoupism, supply and demand, cost analysis and
inventory. That’s not to mention the many ins and outs of parking associations,
trade shows and industry specific training and discussion.

But a reality show?

At press time, the first episode had yet to air, so I took
a close look at the show’s web page on www.aetv.com.
A synopsis of the show and a few parking polls and Q&A forums were
definitely interesting. Parking Wars follows parking enforcement employees of
the Philadelphia Parking Authority in the City of Philadelphia

. Individuals from Ticketing, Booting, the Tow Squad and the Impound Lot brave the metropolis with a camera crew right behind to document the challenges of parking enforcement – every conflict, epithet, argument and breakdown. Brotherly love is not the theme. The brutality and humanity of parking is the theme.

It seems quite a leap to call such a theme entertainment,
but these days, Americans are thirsty for exhibition in all its forms. Name the
industry or profession, plot a challenge, single out a family, we television
consumers are willing and ready voyeurs.

But it seems like this show could be positive for the
people and companies behind the scenes of parking. Exposure is almost always a
good thing for a virtually unknown entity like the parking industry – as long
as it doesn’t go to your heads. Watching these parking enforcement officers do
their work will be eye opening. Maybe parkers will have a better understanding
of the challenges of the job and be less likely to inflict abuse when they are
caught breaking the rules.

I myself came in close contact to a ticketing officer just
the other day and the “confrontation” went like this: My very thoughtful
neighbor pounded on my door and when I opened it he said urgently, “You’ve got
to move your car, like, right now. It’s street cleaning day.” I shrieked,
grabbed my keys and tore out the door in my robe and bare feet to the sight of
an officer standing behind my car with his electronic clipboard in hand just
about to take down my license plate number. Still shrieking I begged “Wait,
wait, I’m moving, I’m moving!”

He very calmly stepped away from my car and said “OK.”

Maybe it was my bed head or maybe he was just being nice.
Maybe he thought I looked like the hysterical type and didn’t want to mess with
me, either way, I appreciated his generosity. Now I wish I could tell him there
was no way on this earth I would have yelled at him or cried. I might have
kicked the grass and plead for mercy, but no yelling.

According to A&E, the show is humorous, intense and
emotional. Sounds like that 60-second interchange I had the other morning plus
some strong language, threats, attempted bribery and all-around crazy behavior
– mostly from the motorists. In the words of the shows producers:

“They tuck tickets under our windshields and clamp yellow
boots to our car wheels. They are called every name in the book. Some try to
run from them. Others try to run them over. They are the people we love to
hate, but never before have they been so fascinating. A&E’s new real-life
series PARKING WARS, is a behind-the-scenes ride with the men and women of the
Philadelphia Parking Authority as they manage the chaos that is every driver’s
greatest nightmare…. parking!

The car is an integral part of the American dream. It is
one of the most tangible expressions of a person’s freedom and identity. When
taken away, the response is often not pretty. PARKING WARS is a first-hand and
decidedly playful look at what happens when the citizens of

Philadelphia

comes face-to-face with the
PPA.” (A&ETV.COM)

Because of my involvement with this magazine I’ve already
taken a closer look at the realities of parking – maybe this show will inspire
some fraction of the rest of the parking public to do the same.

We can only hope and pray that Melissa is right. From the promos I’ve seen on the tube, most of the parking pros look great, and the parkers look like complete idiots.

JVH

 

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

21 Responses

  1. The meterhood co. makes parking meter hoods and sign covers http://www.meterhood.com. I have to submit this in response “More on Parking Wars” I’m absolutely sure that Parking goes right to the heart of the human condition. Love or hate but never indifferent Parking is just not an art but is ART with real social affect. We recently collaborated with Rainer Ganahl and a gallery in Denver. This is an excerpt from Artnet. http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/reviews/robinson/robinson10-16-06.asp
    The Invisible Museum also sponsored a public artwork by Rainer Ganahl that was no doubt much appreciated by Denver drivers. Dubbed Use a Bicycle, the piece puts black cloth shrouds over several hundred downtown parking meters, covers that are emblazoned with the pro-environmental motto, “Use a bicycle.” Of course, the shrouded meters also allow free parking, as if to suggest that social engineering doesn’t always deliver the intended results.

  2. The way that they treat people is disgusting. Even when they are wrong you have no recourse but to pay their hostage fees.
    To bad that “we the people” are not represented any more in this country!

  3. I watched this despicable show one time and will never again-I feel sorry for the people in that city!! It’s a parking meter for goodness sake- lighten up-one of these days rage will take over and good bye -job & benefits!! one more crack pot gets revenge-

  4. David, you are absolutely correct. This happened today. A friend of mine in Anchorage Alaska just left court. A few months ago he fed the parking meter. The meters are 20 cents for each quarter. The meter showed that he had 24 minutes, but he knew that he really had 20 minutes. He was back at his vehicle in 18 minutes, plus their was a ticket on his windshield. Now, he informed the proper authorities what had happened and they invited him to court. Him and his attorney went to the meter with a stop watch and checked the meter for accuracy. Well, it was wrong. So today at court he explains it to the clerk and her response was, ” you should have read the meter”, she could not comprehend what he was saying. She did excuse the ticket even though she had no clue. How many people do you think has got tickets from this same defective meter and how many meters are defective. When there are complaints about the defective ones why are they not repaired.
    I think I will take some quarters and a stop watch and challenge my regional area.
    Any responces?

  5. Over the past three years living in center city I have never received a legitimate parking ticket. I have contested many tickets and won. However, taking the entire afternoon off work to wait in line to contest tickets that never should have been issued is nearly impossible. PPA needs to get their act together and stop writing ridiculous tickets to meet some quota.
    Stop wasting tax payer money and follow the rules yourselves.
    Example: Violation for parking too close to a fire hydrant…..in a metered spot?
    Not to mention, the majority of PPA employees I have met are mean spirited and unprofessional…something many of us would be fired for.
    I am so frustrated with the situation we are moving out of the city. Perhaps that is why Philly is losing all of its young professionals?
    P.S. Remember to pay for extra time because the meters are DEFECTIVE and run too quickly. Conspiracy…definitely.

  6. I wouldn’t blame a person if he/she “went postal” trying to retreive his car under the PPA circumstances. How many times I have heard in that program, “I’ve got to enforce the law” by PPA personnel while illegal aliens drive with impunity without a driver’s license, registration or insurance because they know they will be immediately released and set on their way if pulled over (in AZ, possibly PA too).
    I couldn’t work for such an operation. It reminds me of the Jews who turned on their brothers in the German death camps.

  7. You people are crazy!! This show is great. It exposes this city for what it is. There is NO SUCH THING as an “un-deserved” ticket. Expired Meter = TICKET, Parked in front of a fire hydrant = TICKET, Illegaly Parked in Handicap Spot = TICKET, Parked in a Bus Zone = TICKET, Double Parked = TICKET, Owe alot of money in tickets = BOOT & TOW. Now can anyone tell me which of these instances a ticket is NOT deserved? If drivers weren’t so lazy and would use a little basic COMMON SENSE, they wouldn’t end up at the PPA facility. Notice how on the show they mainly show people who have problems at the window?? Notice how these people don’t have the CORRECT & LEGAL documents they need?? Only an ignorant individual would think that the PPA doesn’t serve the city good. Wait until the day you need that handicapped parking spot, because you need the extra space to get your wheel chair bound mother out of your car, and you can’t find a spot because you have a selfish driver parked in that spot because they needed to be close to the building they need to get into.

  8. to the poster “over it” who made the distasteful comment comparing the PPA to Jews in concentration camps: I ask that you remove that post out of respect to not only my family, but for the 6 million Jews who were slaughtered in the concentration camps. Just reading that gave me the chills at the ignorance. Please think before making a post like that in the future. Thank you.

  9. I’m sorry “over it” I didn’t realize the poster’s name is below- that post was meant for Joe Fendler

  10. I liked the episode on 2/24, where in one segment the parking authority gave a ticket for a person double parked, when in the next segment the parking authority is booting a car, and guess what…he is double parked, holding up traffic…..priceless.
    And you know those employess are never that nice. This is the City of Philadelphia baby where the brothers and sisters are in charge. You do need to be nice because they are the only game in town.

  11. This is just another form of taxation. There is no way that this generates any net revenue for the city, considering employees, trucks, lots, gas, etc. It obviously is a racket ran by the city on its citizens, lining politicians pockets with under the table cash. They have definitely learned from the mobsters in that town (or the mobsters are in charge), how to run a racket. The city should be indicted for racketeering, and the employees should go find a real job.

  12. As a member of the Civilian Handicap Parking Patrol in Brunswick, Georgia, I find the stories on Parking Wars so true to life. I’ve been doing this parking patrol for just over one year and I have been threatened, spit at, called many names and treated with much disrespect, This is from the ones who get tickets for illegally parking in a handicap space. Being a retired professional wrestler, I’m used to the love.
    On the other hand I get praise and thank you from over ten thousand others who are grateful that we are out there enforcing the law. The stories I could tell you about how some people try to scam the system can fill up a book. In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch Parking Wars and tell my friends about it so they can see first hand some of the things I go through as a Handicap Parking Enforcement Officer.
    If drivers would show respect and not park illegally in those handicap spots then we would not need to be out there. But until then …

  13. Park correctly, keep your car legal, and keep a valid license and you should be OK. Fail to do these things and you will receive a consequence. This show makes people in Philly look stupid and that should be what people really complain about. You make a mistake, pay for it and move on.

  14. that is the stupidest show on earth.if you you don’t have any thing better to do your stupid.don’t watch that show and they will take it off the air.or just learn how to park.if your that desperate to get on tv do something productive and quit wasting everybodys time.get real philly cheese heads!

  15. To Phillystreets,
    It’s not always so cut and dry like you think. PPA is one of the most corrupted organizations I’ve ever seen.
    I got a notice for a delinquent ticket for parking in a bus zone blocks away from my school where I was in a night class at the time. I just let it go and paid it, $64. But then about 2 months later I got a notice for another parking ticket, this time it was for $86 for a ticket “issued” on January 3rd, 2008. The interesting thing is that I was on my way down to Punta Cana, and my car was sitting at home in my garage 55 miles away from Philly.
    I’m tired of just letting things go and keep on paying off such a corrupted organization.
    If you just do some basic search on Google you will find that the PPA has issued lots of fraudulent checks and most people are just too intimidated or not bothered enough to do anything except pay the fines.
    But not me.
    Not anymore.

  16. I’m one of those people who don’t check their invoices very closely….I was just going over my invoices for philly car share and noticed that on june 3, 2008 I had a ticket charged to my philly car share account from the PPA for parking in front of a fire hydrant. I did not get a ticket for parking in front of a hydrant while in a philly care share prius. Car share deducted 101.00 from my bank account for the ticket saying by the time they got the ticket late fees had accrued and a $30 processing fee was also applied by them to handle the ticket. Strange….in Oct. 07 I got a parking ticket for an expired meter while signing lease on my new apt with Plummer & Assoc. on 2nd and South sts. in Philadelphia…under the windshield wiper was the ticket for $25 which I paid. This other ticket was NEVER received by me not did philly car share notify me at ANY time that a ticket was sent to them because I had not paid it. I have written a letter to PPA requesting a copy of the ticket, time, and location of the car….philly car share can only quote their guidelines about what they charge if a ticket from a renting member reaches them without the member paying. They don’t seem to understand I NEVER saw or got a ticket on 07/03/08 ….if I had I would have paid it or fought it with PPA….waiting to see what comes from PPA….could they be in cahoots? I’m definitely seeking legal advice about this since the ticket is non-existent as far as I’m concerned and philly car share at no time advised me of anything out of the ordinary with my account!

  17. I was just searching the net for someone to please explain how to read the invoices for Philly Car Share and happened upon this entry about PCS tickets. I have a ticket that I paid to PPA and then was charged by PCS as well. I misplaced the ticket I paid and now am having a very difficult time getting the information from PPA on what ticket it was. I’d like to get the money refunded back to my account that PCS withdrew to pay the ticket. If it’s a different ticket, then I never saw it either.
    Nasty set up indeed. I’m sure PPA loves Philly Car Share…it’s a lot of extra revenue for late paid tickets.

  18. i would like to know if there is a law about people saving parking spots in front of their homes? And what do you do to havbe someone come through and pick up all the orange cones..

  19. These offenders are a joke. They create their own problems with shortcuts: parking where they aren’t supposed to, no or expired insurance, expired registration, don’t want to pay for parking, parking where they aren’t supposed to. They create their OWN hassles. And the city makes money.

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