Parking in Big Cities

Posted on April 3, 2013


I really can’t understand what the purpose is of paying for parking on the street in a big city to go shop or eat or work? Don’t I already pay for street improvements with the taxes I pay? Don’t they want me to go shop and eat and spending money in their city? Imagine the savings to city budgets if they remove these – no more maintaining the meters, no one to monitor the meters. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of parking meters?

Parking Ticket

Parking Ticket

advanced Technology parking meter

Advanced Technology parking meter

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I paid into three different parking meters in one day about $10.00 total. My son wondered why I paid $3.00 (on my credit card) for 2 hours in one meter when we would only be at that spot for less than an hour. Opps… I didn’t know the default was $3.00 and I could have pushed the buttons to select less.  This is one of those new technology meters that allows for payment by credit card.  Cool I thought, I don’t have to dig for coins. After the third time of stuffing my credit card into meters that day I was getting kind of fed up. I also don’t see very well up close anymore without my reading glass (damn it sucks getting older), so I wasn’t exactly sure what time I needed to be back to the meter, but figured $2.00 would give us a couple of hours. It didn’t. The meter expired at 6:30 pm, and so when I showed up at 6:45 pm, after just spending $27.00 inside the pub having a beer and dinner, I had a parking ticket on my car for $66.00 – just fifteen minutes after the meter expired.

I’m pretty sure these higher technology meters send an alert to the parking monitors telling them one had been fueled with cash, and just expired so they know to run over there and see if a car is there or give it a ticket. I’m guessing they have a 50% rate or better of finding a car there and no person putting more money in. So after paying about $10 into the stupid meters that day, I had a $66.00 bill. My son asked if I put more money in after I went out and found the ticket? I said NO WAY, I already have a ticket, not going to get another one now, so I’m not giving that damn meter another cent. We stayed and finished our dinner and left an hour later. I thought about fighting the ticket and showing receipts for all the money I paid into meters that day, but realized it was my own damn fault for not planning my evening around making sure I had enough money in the meter.

I now count that $66.00 I sent to the City of Los Angeles as a donation to the city funds. I wonder if I can write that off my taxes?  I should be able to right. It should go to pay city employees and city improvements. I thought about protesting by not paying it at all, but I’ve learned you can’t mess around with parking tickets. A warrant will be issued for your arrest if you get to many (was that just a movie I saw or is that really true?)

This parking ticket isn’t the worst of my parking experiences in big cities. Once, while on a business trip in San Francisco, I was trying to avoid the $55.00 hotel parking fee, so I parked my rental car on the curb not far away from the hotel. I was so excited to have found a spot nearby, only a block, not four blocks away where I had parked the day before. Well, what I didn’t notice (this wasn’t because I can’t see close up but I just completely missed it), was that I was parked at a green curb. The green means you can’t park here overnight. It means Limited Parking, like for unloading something or quickly picking up a to go order (I was parked in front of a Rubios restaurant). So, not only did I get a hefty parking ticket, but I came outside to no car the next morning.  After getting over the shock of seeing no car, realizing I would miss my first appointment, I figured out how to track down where the car might have been towed to, and took a taxi there.  After paying the towing fine, off I went. Three hundred and fifty dollars later – $225 for towing and $125 parking violation, off I went.

I really DO NOT like having to pay for parking on the street. Also don’t like paying $55.00 to park at a hotel (for which I’m paying $200 a night to stay at), but the $55.00 in this case would have been a great deal. Now, if I must have a car in the big city I find an outside parking lot nearby, and pay $20.00 to $25.00 for overnight parking, still unwilling to pay the $55.00 fee.

So that’s my parking stories. Any of you have parking fee stories?