In yesterday's post I criticized the ROSA program in DC, which targets people without DC tags on their cars, and parking restrictions in general.
A couple commenters responded with a few different arguments, generally with the point that other places have similar or worse parking enforcement policies. I dispute this.
First and foremost: DC is unique in the United States in that it is a city that operates as a completely independent jusidiction from the suburbs and surrounding areas. Every single person who does not physically live in DC, does not have DC tags on their car.
These poeople are not our enemies. They work, play, shop and have friends who live in DC. They have reasons for needing to park on a regular basis in our city that are not only legitimate, but necessary for the functioning of our economy, our very lives. Your housekeeper, your girfriend, your mother, your dog walker. Any of them could live in a different state and need to park their car at your home. Yet we have an intricate web of rules for various types of visitor permits that are confusing and laborious to comply with.
What About New York
The only place that I can think of that has anything in common with DC geographically is New York City. While certainly a higher percentage of the metropolitan area probably lives in New York than in DC, the same situation exists: a lot of people living in New Jersey and Connecticut work, play, and do business in New York City. And, like DC, New York City is a huge tourist destination. They want people to visit.
So how does New York deal with this? Does New York City outlaw anyone without New York plates from parking in the city?
Umm, no. Quite the opposite, in New York, there are no residential considerations at all. Everyone has the same parking privileges, everywhere. If there isn't a "no parking" sign, you can park there. There are no crazy rules about being observed twice in one month, which apparently visitors are supposed to deduce.
Apparently, they have figured out something DC has not: that we actually depend on people from other states for our economy. They are our friends, coworkers, contractors, and we want them to be able to park in our city without having to jump through hoops. Parking is not something that should be hoarded, reserved so that everyone is guaranteed a spot in front of their house - it's something that's needed just as much by the people who do not live in the city as by those who do.
New York also does smart things to increase the availability of parking, the very concept of which seems to paralyze DC, such as:
1) New program has meter rates that vary based on demand at the time
2) Allowing parking right up to the intersection at "T" intersections on one way streets - in DC, regardless of the configuration, you can't park within 25 feet of a stop sign.
Boston? Chicago? er... Anywhere?
Boston has spots designated for visitors in areas with residential parking restrictions. There is no ROSA-like program.
Chicago lets you buy daily parking passes for use in RPP zoned areas online!! How cool is that? You can also buy books of 30.
In Chicago, like DC, RPP covers certain residential only during certian hours. Unlike DC, their web site even lets you figure out if a specific area has restrictions. And course it is possible to get visitor passes in some reasonable manner, and you won't be ticketed for parking more than once a month where the regulations are not in effect.
Further unlike DC, motorcycles and scooters may park in RPP zones without displaying an annual or visitor residential parking permit which makes absolute sense since they take up so little space. Not so in DC.
I could go on, but it seems clear the DC is unique in the ridiculousness of its parking laws.
Is There Anywhere Quite As Backwards As DC?
If anyone is aware of a major metropolitan area, or indeed any jurisdiction, that has parking regulations that can result in ticketing of a legally registered car that is not in violation of the posted parking restrictions, please let me know. I am not aware of any.
ROSA is the worst. There are a hundred other things wrong with DC's parking rules, like the visitor pass policy, the zone parking permits (which you can't get if your street is not zoned), the list goes on... but other cities have stupid things like that too.
But where else on earth can you get a ticket when you're in compiance with the posted parking regulations?
Probably Hazzard County, but I doubt anywhere else.