Watch Out For The Ticket Patrol

Monday, March 3, 2014

Today, a Chattanooga City Traffic Patrol Officer visited a quiet street in the Southside district to write everyone in the block that was parked with the driver’s side door towards the curb a ticket.  He didn’t go to any other blocks on the area, just this one.  When asked why he was doing it, he said that someone called and complained but that he did not know who that was.  

The interesting thing is that while he was writing tickets for something that has nothing to do with actual traffic safety on this particular street, he was parked not only in a crosswalk, but so far out into the street itself that he was hindering the flow of traffic.  Yet I did not see him writing himself a ticket.  Furthermore, he did not have his lights on indicating his little Prius was there on official traffic business and thus this too created a traffic hazard, and I am quite sure is against regulations.

This street has parking pull-outs on one side and those cars were not immune to his aggressive efforts.  I found it ironic that here he was driving a Prius so the city could claim to be environmentally friendly while he was enforcing a policy that promoted unnecessary driving and more tailpipe emissions by requiring drivers to drive around the block in order to be facing the right way.  I would enjoy having someone explain in this situation how parking in a certain direction affects the city in any way.  I can understand the importance of this ordinance on a road large enough and busy enough to require a yellow line down the middle.  I understand crossing that yellow line to park is illegal.  But this area doesn’t have lines on the roads.  It doesn’t even have painted parking slot lines.  Common sense is nowhere to be found among those whose job it is to generate money by penalizing the citizens that have chosen to move downtown from the suburbs and have contributed so much to making the city what it is. 

It is time to put a stop to needless fee-grabbing by the city of Chattanooga.  If they are going to enforce “wrong way parking” on a quiet mostly residential street then enforce it on every street in the city including the street where the mayor lives and the street of every city official.  Furthermore, there should be a requirement that the person requesting the presence of the ticket writers be made known so that it can be ascertained what the motivation for the call is.

It is interesting that these officers have chosen to harass a certain area given that they have been pushed out of their former territory by the conflict-or-interest-ridden deal with Republic Parking.  I am still waiting for a lawyer to challenge the legality of not only the deal itself, but the legality of non-employees of the city being allowed to levy fines against the citizens of the city, but that is a whole another argument for another day.

Watch how you park, because the ticket patrol is out to get you if are downtown, the Northshore or on the Southside.  Everywhere else, park as you please.

Tom Kale

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