By SHERRI RUGGIERI
I looked at an old family photograph album of relatives living in South Philly (Philadelphia). Wow! The streets were so much wider, I thought. Then I realized what was missing. There were very few cars parked along the street. In the past, a family would only own one or two cars at the most. Today, there is an expectation that a family of four might need to park at least four cars. On my narrow street, my neighbor sometimes parks his car on his lawn. Garbage trucks and snow plows encounter a significant challenge.
Even the reality television show “Parking Wars” illustrates the growing problem with parking. My daughter thinks it is funny when the cars are towed. However, the lawyer in me thinks that many of the parking signs are confusing. (This fact is especially true for the tickets given for parking when there is street cleaning.) The conflict (war) between the residents and the city makes for an interesting television show but unearths a frightening reality. When citizens violate the law because it unfairly intrudes on their individual rights, is there a duty to rebel? This is the argument in our Declaration of Independence.
During my years on the Planning Board, there is always testimony about the adequacy of parking. Lately, I have listened to the theory of shared parking. I wonder, will this be enough? Will businesses close because of limited parking? Does ticketing and towing do more harm than good? Will people do their shopping at places where parking is not an issue. Who pays the price? Does the city reinvest the money collected from parking tickets back into the community, or is the money just lost like the people hopelessly searching for their car in the impound lot?
Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.
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