One Day at a Time

April 5, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Looks like Mr. T exposed himself this morning in the letters to the editor section of the Lincoln Journal Star (last letter):

...A note to my fellow Lincolnites: Beware of the city criminalizing you through obscure parking laws in order to obtain revenue. I just fell victim to this when my car was ticketed twice for violating a 24-hour parking law I had never heard of while I was out of town on vacation.

Upon returning, the city attorney’s office informed me this law was “common knowledge” and, despite my need to use on-street parking at my apartment, the city’s law required me to move my car from one side of the street to the other or around the corner ever 24 hours.

Of all the ludicrous laws! How is an honest, law-abiding citizen to keep up with them all? I hope sharing my $20 tough-luck lesson will help others avoid breaking the law unwittingly and being taken in by Lincoln’s underhanded means of procuring revenue.

Christa Kinsley, Lincoln

Hmph. You might’ve thought Mr. T’s name would have started with, y’know, a T. Oh well, this sounds so much like Mr. T it has to be him.

Anyway, in

Mr. T’s

Miss Kinsley’s defense, the 24-hour law is pretty harsh. As hard as it is for the auto-dependent among us to believe, some people actually don’t need their cars for days or weeks at a time. Forcing those folks to move their cars every day seems awfully silly.

On the other hand, the city needs some way to identify abandoned or trouble cars, and the city’s streets shouldn’t be used for long-term storage. So how can we approach a win-win on this? I have two top-of-the-head ideas. First (and most obviously) we need to extend the length of time vehicles can be parked on-street. I think I can make a solid argument for anywhere from 36 to 72 hours. The police won’t like the longer time span because it will complicate their job a bit, but the law should be designed not for the enforcers, but for those it is enforced upon. Areas for which the 24-hour restriction still makes sense can and should remain 24 hours, but there will need to be a clear and obvious reason for that limit to remain in effect, and the shorter time limit should be made clear with signage.

My second idea is some sort of “I live in this neighborhood and I need a car but I don’t drive every day so quit harassing me” permit. For an annual fee, persons who can prove their residence in an area would be given a sticker (a window decal, most likely) that would permit them to park on the street for longer than usual. The fee should cover only the cost of the program; it should not be a revenue-generator. Vehicles would have to be parked within two linear blocks of the residence to which they belong. I’m not crazy about creating more red tape but, well, it’s just an idea.

Anybody have any other ideas? Or is anybody brave enough to face Mr. T’s wrath and defend the status quo?

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The Comments

Christa Kinsley's Biggest Fan April 5, 2006 at 4:13pm

Although ignorance of the law is no excuse, Christa has a great point - the law itself seems ill suited to address valid concerns. If the law is intended to identify abandoned cars, why only 24 hours? It should be at least 72 hours if the intention is to identify those cars that are truly abandoned. Otherwise it just seems like a cash making mechanism for the City. There are plenty of people who just don’t drive everyday, particularly if they are students, older folks, who live near their school or workplace. And what if someone is ill for example? But I agree with your point that something needs to be done to differentiate snow emergency routes and so on from purely residential streets.

Sincerely,

Christa’s Number One Fan

Plain Patriot April 6, 2006 at 3:53am

As much as I enjoy being the target of Mr. T’s (er…Ms. Kinsley’s) ire (see “Date Movie Post), I have to agree with him (errr…her) on this one. 

You’ll have to look someplace else for debate on this one.

Christa Kinsley's Biggest Fan April 6, 2006 at 5:09pm

I wonder what neighborhood Christa lives in? She said she lived in an apartment. Does she have parking space available in an alley behind the apartment? 

Fellow Lincolnites and MR. Wilson - I lived in a town out east about the proximate size of Lincoln - and they did have some law for abandoned cars. But it was not 24 hours or even 72 hours. Instead, residents would just call in if they suspected a car had been abandoned. That usually did the trick. Where I live everyone knows each other’s cars.

Sincerely,

Christa

Karin April 9, 2006 at 7:51pm

I’ve known about this law since I moved to Lincoln - I thought it was pretty common knowlege. The annoying thing about it is that it takes someone to complain about it before the police will actually do anything.

This isn’t a problem unless you have neighbors that hate you.

I have no problem with the rule in general, however I do think it should be at least 3 days- there are occasionally weekends when I don’t move my car. (ah, to have one of those weekends again!)

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