Park at Your Own Risk

This isn’t about me wanting special treatment, it’s about common sense.

I recently parked my car downtown so I could move a bunch of boxes from one office to another. I figured I’d be out to fetch the car by 8:30, but I built in a little padding.

After being delayed, I went out to the car, where an Abany Parking Authority meter attendant was writing me a ticket — and this was at 8:51. Three minutes after my fee expired, I’m getting a ticket.

“You’re in violation,” she barked. “I’ve already written the ticket.”

Seriously? Three minutes?

After a bit of back and forth, the woman relented, but gave me a fuck you look as she stalked away. Yeah, you have a nice day, too.

So, let me ask you a question: should they ticket people the second their meter expires or allow a five to ten minute grace period. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like bullshit to pounce on violators the moment their time is up.

And pounce is what they do.

My co-workers claim that Albany Parking Authority’s pay stations and parking app alert officers of expiring payments. Think about it. If they know a car is expired in their patrol area, they can just stroll over and write a ticket. Or stroll over and wait for it to run out.

That sounds a bit conspiratorial — but why wouldn’t they do this?

I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t pay to park — or that rules should be ignored — but being overly aggressive may be bad policy. Welcome to Albany.

6 responses to “Park at Your Own Risk

  1. In a perfect world, you would be correct. However, one can safely assume that parking infractions create a moderate yearly income for the city, and that enforcement would be a top priority. Look at Troy – if you don’t move your car for street cleaning, they don’t merely ticket you, they tow you away. Now that’s hard-assed!

    • Yes, towing would be worse!

      According to their budget, the Parking Authority expects revenue of $3,846,212 in 2017 between meters and fines ($2,650,000 meters/$1,196,212 fines) — it’s hard to find actual numbers for 2106 meter and fine revenue broken down in their financials.

      I’m not sure how much fine money goes to the Authority and what share goes to the city.

      However, if one believes that the role of government is to serve the people — and not to fuck them over — a brief grace period would not be unreasonable.

  2. Rule of living or working in Albany. If there’s a way to squeeze money out of you for even the tiniest infraction, they will squeeze and squeeze until your wallet pops.

    • It’s OK to charge — but be reasonable about enforcement. Today, unlike when we only had old-fashioned meters, they know that you’re two minutes over, and not two hours.

  3. Parking fines and income are a cash cow for the City of Albany. However folks from the wealthiest zip codes, 12205, 12211, etc., receive one ticket, and then, they avoid coming to downtown, as much as possible, and spend their money in the suburbs deprieving downtown businesses.

    • Yes, some people will be discouraged. And some folks will now say, “Well, maybe you people shouldn’t look at downtown as your personal parking lot! Leave your damn car at home!”

      That’s understandable — but also impractical for many people. By the way, right behind me was a moving truck that got a ticket. These guys were trying to work, either moving someone in or out of an office. Probably moving OUT based on what I see downtown every day.

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