Since there is no legal parking available within a half-mile of many homes, it has been repeatedly suggested than one "solution" is that such residents should leave their cars parked illegally in front of their homes, listen for the approaching street sweeper and move their cars as it comes by. It is presented as a mild inconvenience for just a few minutes each week, when in fact this proposal is a major intrusion into residents' lives that ranges from highly impractical to impossible.
1) We have two small children. Even in the rare instances when our house is completely silent, our energy-efficient windows make it impossible to hear the street sweeper from many parts of our home.
2) Just the fact that we have two small children makes this "solution" impossible. If we did hear the street sweeper, we would have only a few seconds to react and move our vehicle(s). Assuming that we lucked out and were in the middle of something that could be easily dropped, there's no way we would be able to get our children out the door and strapped into their car seats on time, and there's no way we can abandon our children by locking them in the house while we drive around the neighborhood waiting for the street sweeper (and ticket officer) to finish with our street.
3) We have two cars that require street parking. In the many instances when only one driver is home, this "solution" would be impossible (especially with kids).
4) For any resident who lives on the first street that gets swept in the neighborhood, they would have no time to react.
Even in the best of scenarios, when none of the above cases exist, the city is expecting residents to put their lives on hold and wait for that street sweeper, keys in hand, in order to avoid getting ticketed. This expectation is unreasonable, as it implies that beginning at 8 am every street-sweeping day, that resident is unable to shower, use the toilet, have any kind of noise in the house (no TV, radio, iPod, headphones, crying children), nurse a baby, use the treadmill, work in the backyard, sleep, walk the dog, vacuum, visit a neighbor, run an errand (leaving one car behind, illegally parked), do the dishes, put a child down for a nap, go for a jog, take a baby for a walk in a stroller, walk with a child to/from school, be on the phone, change a diaper, or be disabled in any way (my husband couldn't drive for three weeks this summer after surgery)...until the street sweeper finally comes. When will the sweeper come? Now that it has to wait for tickets to be written, that time of day will be highly irregular for any given street (it came to my street at 1 pm this week). It should also be noted that any resident who is willing to play this game must get in the car and maintain some kind of holding pattern until both the street sweeper AND the ticketing officer have visited their street; otherwise there is no way to prove that the car had been moved in time and then returned to park after the sweeping occurred, and thus would still be ticketed.
For so many reasons, this is not a realistic solution and it should stop being presented as such. There are reasonable solutions to this parking dilemma, such as issuing hardship exemptions for those who need street parking (such as other cities have done, including Claremont), or modifying the existing ordinance so that there is always a reasonable place to park (such as the regularly used strategy of sweeping on only the odd or even side of the street each week), but no such resolutions have been offered by the City thus far.
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