Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creative Ways to Keep People from Parking Illegally

            My homeowners’ association has a rule against people parking their cars on the street. The homes in my neighborhood have 2-car garages and fairly long driveways, so you wouldn’t expect the rule to be that big a deal. Not so. It’s a big deal.

Since my sons have traded in their scooters and Big Wheels on automobiles, we have become a 4-car household. If you ignore the fact that it’s ridiculous that each member of my family “needs” his own car, we handle the no-street-parking rule pretty well. We shuffle cars, with two in the garage and two on the driveway at any given time. As Tim Gunn would say, we “make it work”.

My neighbors, however, are not always able to “make it work”. Many of them have garages full of stuff, if you can imagine that. One guy down on the corner runs a furniture refinishing shop in his garage. His car is always parked on the street. If he doesn’t stop yelling at the kids for standing on his grass while they're waiting for the school bus, someone might report his illegal business and his illegally parked car to the authorities. Just saying.

I have to admit that it can be a bit annoying to drive, walk, or bicycle in our neighborhood. The streets are narrow and we don’t have sidewalks. If two brainless people park their minivans on opposite sides of the street directly across from each other, my neighbor who drives the Hummer has to go find one of them to move a van so he can get through. Obviously, the rule against parking on the street in my neighborhood is not being enforced. Except for maybe Hummer dude, the rest of us are pretty much OK with that.

However, there are places where the no-parking rules are strictly enforced. In Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, you will have a big problem if you leave your car where it’s not supposed to be. Will they give you a ticket? Nope. Will they tow your car? Nope. So what is the consequence of leaving your car parked illegally? The Mayor runs over your car with a Soviet-era tank. I’m thinking the man is serious about putting a stop to illegal parking. Do you suppose Lithuanian auto insurance covers that kind of damage?

            So consider yourself warned, people. If you leave your car in an illegal spot, the consequences may be more drastic than you ever imagined. Wow!