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Having a Car In The City Is A Pain In The Ass

Badass Johnny Cash commenting on the parking situation in Baltimore.

This guy I read about in the Baltimore Sun had his car towed from the Federal Hill Library parking lot.  He was with his disabled mother and infant daughter, which is probably why it made news. Granted, he probably should have known how the system works (if a space is too good to be true, then it probably is), and tow truck drivers will jump you like starved sharks going after raw seal meat if your fender even encroaches on a restricted space. $300 bucks for an hour of parking and the privilege of visiting the awesome impound lot. I’m pretty sure they have complimentary coffee there to make it worth your while.

And people get so crazy over their parking spaces in neighborhoods.  Yelling at each other and making themselves and other people miserable fighting over an 8x20ft piece of asphalt.   Then the parking tickets. I accumulated about 15 after living here for only 2 years when I had a car. After awhile I started to wallpaper my refrigerator with them. Then if you want to go shopping or out to eat but don’t want to drive to the county, parking is expensive downtown and you may get your windows busted in transitional areas like Station North (JH knows what I’m sayin).  Oh yea, my car got keyed and broken into on several occasions.  Plus insurance is expensive in the city and the whole tag/plate/registration DMV BS is an afternoon from hell.  Man I loved the road trips out of town on a whim but keeping a car here just sucked.

But it’s not all roses going car free in the winter.  Now my face freezes when I’m on my bike and I’m surrounded by The Plague as people cough all around me on the bus, but I can take it.   With the money I save by not owning a car, I can take an around-the-world vacation in 2012. I’ve been using Zipcar more frequently as the weather gets colder, and once the Green Line of the Charm City Circulator starts up I’ll have another commuting option.

So my point is this;  the ticket officers, tow companies, and petty criminals are vultures eying up your car every time you leave it unattended in Baltimore. To you, it’s your transportation and status symbol. To them, it’s a sweet little goody they can make a buck off of.  I’ll gladly take some cold weather in exchange for never having to stare into the cold eyes of a tow truck driver or take a car to the repair shop again.

**Check out what Hoboken is doing about their screwed up parking situation.

  • Charmaine

    Getting your car towed is an awful experience….a friend of mine just had it happen to her here in Arlington, VA. We stopped at a CVS one night, and parked in a spot that certainly LOOKED like a spot. We came out maybe 5 min. later, and her car was GONE. Turns out the spot WASN’T a parking spot – - but you’d never know it at first glance…the “No Parking” that was painted on the pavement was so badly faded, it only said “No P”. Also, unless you have a Mini Cooper, the rear of an average car/medium SUV covers the “No P”. Plus, the parking spot area was in a darkened part of the lot. What a scam! $120 later to get her car out of the impound lot, along with surliness by the impound lot lady…..what an awful way to end an evening. :( I’ll take riding my bike in the winter winds ANY day.

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