Monday, October 24, 2005

No Saving Parking Spaces in Wilmington

A venerated Wilmington city tradition is to place cones or chairs or whatever junk you have lying around out in the street in front of your house. Not for the garbage men to pick up, but to save your parking space. Now that I have lived in the city for a few years I realize that when you live in row houses, parking in front of your house is important because there is no where else to park. The problem is that these houses were built when there was one car per family not two or three.

My neighbors love to shuffle their many cars from behind the house to the front of the house for trips around the block, all the while moving cones and chairs back and forth to hold the spaces. It is quite entertaining. I personally have space behind my house, and one of the few non-converted garages on the street so I actually park my car inside. I am sure that it is too late to go back to the days where people had enough respect to avoid parking right in front of other peoples houses unless absolutely necessary. I have long since give up the chance to park in front of my house.

Wilmington has gone a step further by proposing a bill to ban saving parking spaces.
"Under the law proposed by Potter, an offender would be charged $50 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent infractions. Waiver periods would be included in the law for neighborhoods during annual festivals. That means Little Italy residents would be able to save their spots with barbecue grills, lawn furniture or lumber atop five-gallon buckets during the Italian Festival each June."
This bill to save parking spaces passed in city council, now the question is whether the mayor will veto the ban on saving spaces. On the 20th the message was -
"Mayor James M. Baker would sign the bill into law if it passes, city Communications Director John Rago said."
But now he is vacillating. I think he floated the veto possibility to see which way the wind is blowing among his constituents. There is already a statute that says you can't litter and that has been used occasionally to clear spaces, but there is concern that if the items in the street haven't been officially "discarded" then that statute wasn't sufficient.

I am normally against any new law that is similar to an old one, but in my true hypocritical fashion (which I admit to) I am in favor of this one because they won't enforce the other one and I really hate it when spaces are saved and I can't park on the street. I can't wait for it to be enforced on some of my more parking space abusive neighbors.

I love these local political issues because they encapsulate the problems with government, but on a bite-size scale. Someone proposes a law to ban saving spaces. It is really not needed because there is a law to cover it, but it is not enforced uniformly. Politicians argue, leaders promise and then recant as the issue gets touchy, and in the end its effectiveness is in doubt. I believe this makes my case for small and limited government.


Anonymous said...

I have been known to nudge, run over, or just plain steal those stupid, unsightly and unnecessary parking-spot saving devices (please don't tell the city). I hope the law isn't vetoed.

Anonymous said...

Do you own that particular piece of public road, that was built with tax payer money? Maybe you should consider getting something on private property if you want a spot. Besides if there is a spot for someone else to park then so can you.