Remember those great holiday days, when you could park free in Montclair Village? Unfortunately, the world has reverted back to its ugly self. If you manage to arrive back at your car after meter time has expired, then be prepared to cough up a whopping $75 fine – I know first-hand.
Time for confession: Well, I headed to the Village with only an errand or two in mind, and ignored the garage option. Instead, I pounced on a coveted LaSalle spot. After quickly cursing the new-fangled meter, it produced a receipt which I gently placed on the dash. This should be a fast one, I thought.
The problem begins: My errands included minor visits to UPS and the ATM, and yours might be equally riveting. Mission accomplished, I wandered over to both bookstores because they were calling my name. Yes, the meter was completely forgotten.
When I ventured back to the car, the “envelope of doom” was tucked under the windshield wiper. The ticketing officer seemed to be quite efficient and clearly won this round.
No real winners: I understand that meters are an income source for the City of Oakland and our dollars can help the cause. At the same time, these time constraints also mean we have to shop quickly and get out of Dodge. This doesn’t feel like the right way to attract business and support our local shop-keepers during a recession.
By encouraging and rewarding loitering, we surely would spend more shekels in the Village. Let’s return to holiday parking – or at least move beyond free Sundays for starters. What do you think?