Dear Parking Gods of the City of Raleigh,
Last week, I went shopping in downtown Raleigh. It's something I used not to think twice about - going downtown to eat or shop. That has now changed.
I understand the need to increase revenue in the city. Everyone is hurting for money, and that includes Raleigh. I get that. When every single 2 hour parking spot in downtown Raleigh disappeared and was replaced by meters, I only groaned a little bit.
On this particular rainy morning, I parallel parked on Martin Street. It was raining. I left the baby in the car, ran to the meter, and fed it all of my spare change. I had over an hour running on the meter. I ran back to the car, sat and waited for the store to open, and then went in to do my shopping.
Being the first customer of the day, I had to wait a little bit for the shop owner to process my transaction. I watched the clock, and knew that the meter might be about to run out. However, I was almost done, had the baby with me, and it was pouring down rain.
Ten minutes later, I got back to my car and found a ticket. The parking person was two cars up from mine; he had just left the ticket for me. I didn't argue with him. I'll pay the ticket. I was over my meter by five minutes. I understand that.
So, dear City of Raleigh, you will get your $20 because I didn't drag my infant back out into the pouring rain to feed the meter another nickel. What you will also get here though, is someone who is reconsidering renewing her membership to Marbles because of parking. You get someone who won't pop downtown to pick something up from Square Rabbit on a whim anymore. You get someone who won't choose to eat in a restaurant downtown when she can go to North Hills and park easily for free.
As I was driving away, I counted FIVE parking people writing tickets. In the rain. FIVE. And I wondered how much it cost to pay those people, and surely there was some sort of balance between wasting money on an army of ticket writers and bringing in $20 parking ticket fees.
There are so many things I think you get right, dear City of Raleigh. This, however, is definitely not one of them. If you don't work downtown, it's already hard enough to figure out where to park to begin with. Now, you've put predatory parking vultures out on the street to give tickets the second the meter expires.
Sure, it's fair. I'm not saying that I should have let my meter run out. But is it encouraging me to come back downtown anytime soon?
One peeved Mama
This is an original Triangle Mamas post. You can find Marty blogging the 30 Days of Truth over at Don't Take the Repeats. Her more random thoughts and favorite Etsy finds pop up on Tumblr, and she chit chats on Twitter and Facebook.