Thursday, December 3, 2009

And The Sign Said Long Haired Freaky People Need Not Apply

I'm a reader. I like reading a lot. I like reading so much that I look for new and interesting places to read things. Like on street corners. In unfamiliar places where direction and location are important. On the backs of potentially dangerous compounds. When handling unfamiliar electrics. I find that, more often than not, reading answers many of the questions I may have. I used to resent going to meetings at my old job because I was fairly certain the two-hour long grabassathon could have been replaced by a memo with bullet points. In short, if I can't figure it out through reading, it's a complicated matter.

This morning, I took the train from the Greenwich station. Mother-in-law has long lamented the reduction of parking spaces in the downtown Greenwich area, so I was prepared to be moderately inconvenienced while finding a spot. I drove to the outdoor lot and wedged myself into a space, noted the number, and proceeded to the parking kiosk to pay for parking.

"Please enter your space number (1-360)."
"Invalid number. Please try again."
Invalid number. Please try again."

86 is a number between 1 and 360. I know this for truth. I stopped. And reread the instructions. Step 1: select the language. OK, I select English. Step 2: Choose transaction. OK, I wish to buy a parking ticket for the day. Step 3: Enter space number. OK, I enter my space number.

"Invalid number. Please try again."

Now I try other numbers between 1 and 360. All of which the kiosk says are invalid.

I then see the train I was going to take whiz out of the station. So now I am taking the later train. I might as well take it from my station where I know how to park. I go back to my car, past all the signs that direct me to the pay kiosk. When I get to the car, I see a sign three aisles away (approximately 50 feet) that looks different from all the other signs. Curious, I walk towards it. THIS sign tells me that daily parking must be done in yellow striped spots, whereas permit parking is done in white striped spots. From the entrance to the lot to this sign, a person would travel approximately half the length of a football field. On no signpost closer to the entrance was this sentiment stated. Upon entering the lot, one wouldn't even KNOW there were yellow striped spots. The only thing one would see was signs pointing towards the pay station with an admonishment to remember the number of the space parked in.

Now, devoted partner has been trying to educate me on the ways of the suburbans. When I complain that street signs are missing, he tells me this is intentional because residents don't want non-residents driving down their blocks. I find this ridiculous, and would offer the idea of gated communities to these folks where only previously approved cars could even gain entry to the premises, but ok. Where I don't understand deliberate opacity is in municipal signage. While it is true that the municipality would derive greater income from hitting me with a parking ticket as opposed to merely collecting my parking fee, this sort of action would quickly turn me into the kind of vigilante a municipality like Greenwich would not appreciate. Much like parking garages in Manhattan state in big bold brightly colored signage at the entrance how much it will cost to leave your car, I would suggest that the nice folks at Town Hall at least CONSIDER the idea of posting parking rules at entrances - this way confusion can be averted. I'll give you a helpful example:

While looking for parking I entered the covered parking garage only to be greeted by a sign warning me that ONLY permit parking was permitted there. This sign was clearly displayed at the entrance so that a driver could see whether or not his vehicle was permitted from the start.

So it's not like you people are too stupid to understand the concept.

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