A pizzeria owner in Detroit painted a nice big blue line on the street after customers were fined $150 each for parking in unmarked handicapped spaces, and I’m all for giving up spaces to the handicapped, but if the spaces aren’t marked I don’t know how the handicapped or for that matter anyone else would know they’re reserved. It seems like entrapment and the city agreed and will be putting up clearer signage, so it turned out fine for everyone except the people who paid the $150 fine which is anything but fine.
This reminded me of two things. First of all parking in downtown Nashville is generally terrible, which is something I should have mentioned to the amazing Ann Koplow when I learned she was planning a trip to Nashville. The good news is downtown is well covered by the local buses, although they’ve gotten rid of the free buses that used to crisscross downtown, maybe because the owners of all the parking lots who charge exorbitant rates complained. Downtown is also fairly compact and if you like walking it’s a nice place to just stroll and see the sights and watch the people.
Outside of downtown however Nashville is a sprawling city and buses don’t cover all outlying areas. Several years ago when the place where I work started paying employee bus fares I asked a coworker if she’d consider riding the bus.
“Well, I would,” she said, “if I didn’t have to walk three miles across two interstates to get to the nearest stop.”
Fortunately most places understand that Nashville is a very car-centric city and provide plenty of parking, and if you like walking you can park your car pretty far away from a place and have a nice stroll and leave the closer spots to the handicapped.
The other thing I was reminded of was the last time I went to the Belcourt Theater, Nashville’s art cinema, which has an unusually small parking lot and has, or at least had, parking for patrons only with a validation system. I parked and got the slip for my spot from the parking lot machine and went in to get validated before buying my movie ticket, and when I went back out the overly aggressive lot checker had already flagged my car as illegally parked and that I owed a fine.
I went back in and asked the guy who’d sold me my movie ticket if I’d done something wrong, because I thought maybe I had—the system is, or at least was, a little confusing. He apologized profusely and even called over a manager who also apologized and they took the notice left on my car and said they’d take care of it, and I apologized for the trouble, and I think we all ended up feeling both validated and fine.