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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

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Winnipeg retains her ownership of the parking authority, but recently "upgraded" from a troop of commissionaires (mostly retired or ex-armed services, by the look of them) to a much more numerous swarm of young and hungry ticketeers whom I have dubbed the "yellowjackets." I swear these guys are paid on commission -- they are seldom a minute away (maybe they have multi-entry alarms to guide them back to cars whose meters are about to run out.)

Other changes to the machines and fee structure have steeply increased the cost and nuisance of parking. Near the downtown university, one or two hour parking limits are set, no matter how much time you'd like to buy. If you have a two-hour meeting, good luck. You're going to have to choose between arriving late or leaving early.

The bus system, though not bad, does not provide an alternative when several hops are needed to get all your chores done (or if you're buying bulky items.) It's a minimum of a half hour for most bus hops in this town, at $2.25 a hop.

I am not surprised that your fellow citizens are sabotaging the meters. Frustration at being pinned by competing pressures, of time and money and location, leads to rage. My intellect tells me we need to wean off cars, and making parking difficult is one way to do that. But ... other necessities like getting to work or to government offices still assume that a car is part of the equation. Mass transit has a long way to go before it compensates for using a private car. Till then, we can expect a lot of ulcers and gummed up meters.

Noni

Noni,

It's interesting to hear what's happening in your neck of the woods.

The 2-hour parking limits are a problem outside downtown Chicago where there are fewer public lots and garages. But the 2-hour limit has been in place for as long as I can remember. In downtown Chicago, (privately owned) public garages are everywhere, so there are options for people who need to park longer than two hours.

You're probably right about the continuing gummed up meters. It's vandalism, but with a political point. I think most people around here approve or only mildly disapprove, even if they don't participate in gumming up the meters themselves.

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