NO FREE PARKING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Parking

There is no free parking in Boston. There is no free parking in New York either. I don’t know about the rest of the big cities, but I’m betting it’s pretty much the same. Assuming you can push your way through the traffic and actually get to the city … what do you do next?

Alley behind the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston

Weaving through Boston traffic on any given day can be a traumatic experience. Cars and trucks pop out of side streets, apparently without so much as a glance for possible other traffic. If you can find a parking place (good luck with that), it will either cost you a fortune … or pretty much the same amount for a parking ticket.

I have stood there, calculating which is going to cost more — the ticket or a legal spot. The legal spot is usually not only more expensive, but it’s much less convenient than parking wherever you happen to be.

My first car experience in Boston traffic was waiting at a light and getting hit by a car leaving a parking space. I got hit by a parked car standing still. At a light. Welcome to Massachusetts.

How about the people leaving illegally parked cars and stand there with their doors open, waiting for you to knock it off the frame?

I do not know if all cities are as bad as Boston, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. Of course, now people lurch wildly through streets talking on the phone. Blind and deaf to traffic, at the very least can’t we ban cell phones in cars? AND while walking on the street?

Walkers who have parked are the terror of the roads.

Considering how often we stand at an intersection waiting for the driver in front of us to get off the phone and drive, it’s hard to tell who is parked and who isn’t.

Out here, in the country, the roads aren’t as packed with traffic as they are in town. You can generally find a place to park — at least in the village. Out in the country, it’s perfectly legal — but the odds are very good that someone — texting or talking — is going to come around a curb and whack your car.

Remember TV shows where the cop or private detective could park anywhere? There was always a spot for him, even in the middle of Manhattan or Los Angeles. I want to see more realistic shows where the guy misses his appointment because the IS no parking. And he doesn’t have $120 for two hours of downtown parking.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

30 thoughts on “NO FREE PARKING – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. We used to have that. But they keep building in any areas where you used to be able to park, so these days, there are virtually no places to put the car. They encourage public transportation. There isn’t any from our area. We don’t go into Boston anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The worst I’ve seen in LA was $20 for an hour — but that was at least 15 years ago — I don’t know what that space would cost now! And parking is actually banned once a month for street sweeping — that can cost a lot if you’re not aware of it!


    1. We have “alternate side of the street parking” so the cleaners can come through. The thing is, they have calculated there are at least 10,000 FEWER spaces than cars in Boston and it’s just getting worse. $40 an hour is CHEAP these days.


  2. The ban on using cell-phones while driving must be the most flouted law in NZ, despite being so obviously lethal. Mind you, the fines here are less than US big-city parking fees, so hardly a deterrent.


      1. It’s a bit the same here. You can always tell when you’re following someone on their phone. Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. Left lane, right lane, down the middle. AAAAGGH.


  3. I stay out of downtown in cities as much as possible. In the last five years have been downtown for teo weddings and a few doctors appointments. That’s about it. I worked fiediwn for years and had to ride the bus or pay parking. Driving in was much faster so I usually did that and paid yo park. But parking was much less expensive back then. There were a few free spots hidden around in alleys and off the main streets that only a few people knew about that used sometimes. Always felt like I had gotten a free lunch when I could get one of those spaces.


  4. I don’t know about on-street parking since I only use parking ramps when I’m in downtown Buffalo. But I can tell you that the drivers here are every bit as oblivious as those everywhere else. Just yesterday, a car backed out of a city driveway, between parked cars, right into my path. I swerved, honked, and avoided the collision by less than an inch. The other driver didn’t even flinch. A few years back, I was traveling up a one-way city street, minding my own business, when a car pulled out from a parking space at a fast rate of speed – sideswiping my vehicle and pushing me into the vehicles on the opposite side of the street. The other driver simply said, “I had time.” Obviously, she didn’t.


    1. I’ve been tee-boned at intersections because someone didn’t feel like waiting for the light. I’ve been mashed by a huge truck because he needed all three lanes to turn. I’ve never gotten actually hurt, but I’ve seriously mangled cars. It’s hard to say where the worst drivers are from, but I vote for Montreal.


  5. Phoenix is not far behind as it puts up meters, by the bushel, in any forgotten little piece of street side public real estate. For the moment this is mostly happening downtown. Downtown is under siege as it struggles with a desperate attempt to make it an area folks want to visit. On the other hand daytime business becomes the unwitting victim of the parking dilemma, so it’s a wonder that storefront shops find it unattractive, and even with the light rail, downtown Phoenix goes pretty much dark at night and on weekends. Still, finding a free parking space in the unlikely event that there is something you want to do, downtown, is also unlikely. Of course there is no lack of, ticket wielding, meter monitors cruising these lonely streets for any unsuspecting parkers. Most parkers assume that the meters are free after a certain hour.., not so. Many are active late into the evening and some 24/7.., WTF? It seems Phoenix is in the middle of opposing forces while trying to be a big city.


    1. Sounds like home to me! I think ALL the big cities are strangling themselves. Without parking, people give up and go to the suburbs. That’s what we did even when we LIVED in Boston. We went to the suburbs and the malls because THEY had parking.


  6. Just a ‘quickie’ before closing down my laptop…. If it makes you feel any better or any less angry and frustrated: It is the very same EVERYWHERE, in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, England. In Switzerland we KNOW NOT to park in unauthorized places because it will not only cost you two arms and at least one leg, it will also get you an entry in your official papers and a horrendous fine, so you always will look for an non-existant official parking or go to a parking right away.
    Texting while in the car is strictly forbidden, everywhere. In England it was not observed quite regularly. The number of times I thought I had a drunken driver of a lorry in front of me, only to realise that he was texting while wheeling his x-tons of stuff is legendary. In France I once had a guy behind me all the way to work, who, without braking once, closed the buttons of his shirt, put on a tie, shaved, combed his hair AND had his breakfast, all of it forbidden….. I nearly had an accident myself, because I had to look into my mirror all the time and couldn’t believe what I saw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And don’t forget the women who do a complete makeup job in the rearview mirror while supposedly driving. Garry once noticed a truck driver reading what looked like a huge textbook … while driving at least a ten-ton truck. Mainly, our goal is to just stay out of big cities. They are no place for live people.


  7. I think there are some spaces with free parking on Sunday, in Solothurn, but otherwise nothing. Most of the. Streets in the old town are traffic free, but we have 3 parking houses, so you would always find something somewhere


  8. It sounds as if driving and parking are equally bad anywhere you go and most of it is because people are thoughtless or selfish although poor infrastructure is also a big part of it.
    The Hobart CBD has a system of one-way streets and the other week there was an accident when a car sideswiped someone getting out of a car on the main route into Hobart from the south. Traffic was snarled up for two hours or more because there is no alternative route except some narrow back streets.


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