Parking Ticket Policy ‘Small Minded, Elitist’?
I would like to add a similar story to the letter written last week by Jeff Martinson about street parking in the Little City. A few days after moving into our new home, our excitement was dampened when our cars were ticketed for not having been registered in Falls Church. Our cars were parked on the street legally with all the proper stickers from Fairfax County. Wouldn’t a warning or note have sufficed? It took much persistence on my part to get the tickets waived. When I spoke to the police officer and asked why he was so quick to write a ticket, he responded that many people drive here to park and use the bike trail, apparently a habit to be discouraged by F.C. via law enforcement. It would appear that the City government views the trail as something for only a privileged few residents and not anyone else. Personally, I find this small-minded and elitist, not to mention that the policy is conducted with such zeal as to even pull in new residents.
We had another opportunity to speak with the parking enforcement officer when our car was again ticketed, even though it now had all the proper Falls Church City stickers. We discovered that a ticket can be issued if a car is not moved every five days when parked legally with the required stickers. Our problem is that one of us commutes by bicycle, meaning the car is seldom needed, another habit apparently to be discouraged by local government.
In my opinion, this city is overly restrictive about parking. We all pay taxes and want to be able to park in legally allowed spots. I can understand strict parking controls in congested areas. One sees “zoned” parking and that sort of things in many places. However, relatively obscure, city-wide parking restrictions, in all areas, congested or not, strikes me as very unusual. I’m sure if a City resident were ticketed for parking in what appeared to be a legal space, only to find out later that there was some obscure law on the books that caused him to be ticketed or towed, that he would be none too happy about it. If Falls Church wants restrictive parking in certain areas, then the government needs to do what other municipalities do which is spend the money to put up the signage. Frankly, from our interactions, the City strikes me as positively anti-bike.
Via the Internet
Why Not Avoid Car Use for In-Town Trips?
There’s a lot of excitement about all the new development in our City these days– and also a lot of concern about traffic increases. But wait, there is an amazing solution that not only alleviates traffic, it also helps us to save money, decrease pollution, lose weight and increase our health.
The solution is: for in-town trips, leave the car at home and walk or ride your bike! According to the 2010 Census, Falls Church City is 2 square miles. Although we are in desperate need of certain urgent pedestrian improvements (traffic light at Mad Fox, anyone?), bike improvements (more bike racks and lanes), as well as progress on the formal Pedestrian Plan (including bikes), we already have lots of great destinations close by, sufficient infrastructure, and mostly reasonable weather. Your first option for any trip in the City should be walking or biking.
Need more incentive? Check out a new TED talk by Nilofer Merchant, which highlights the fact that “sitting is the smoking of our generation.” The New York Times reported on this talk on August 16, describing Merchant’s findings as follows: “Just one hour of sitting slows production of fat-burning enzymes by as much as 90 percent…and a longer term habit (you might want to sit down for this) negatively affects good cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.”
As a mother of a young child, we’ve had to be creative at times to get around town without a car – and I would never claim that we succeed in going car-free every time. But for every in-town trip, we ask ourselves if walking or biking is an option – and we know that every time we leave the car at home, we’re reducing traffic and drastically improving our health at the same time.
Hope to see you all out there!
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