Now I know better. But there was a time not too long ago when I nearly rammed into the back of a car after the driver suddenly slammed on the brakes in morning rush traffic — for a parking spot. I didn’t know the game before. Now I do. And for those of us who don’t play it, but instead get played, it’s annoying.
The problem spot is along Cherry heading into downtown (westbound) between 17th and 15th, near the hospital. For awhile, that small stretch of Cherry has been one of the few places where parking spots are FREE, with NO hourly limit. BUT there’s supposed to be no parking between 7-9 am. It’s officially a tow-away zone. What happens? In the mad scramble to secure one of those prized spots before anyone else, frantic drivers will abruptly pull into one as early as 8:45, jamming up one of the two lanes heading into the city. All it takes is one driver doing it, and within a minute or two, dozens of others drivers (who have been circling the blocks in wait) dive right in. They’ll then wait inside their cars until they’re in the clear. Commuting drivers have to slam on the breaks. Buses have to quickly lumber into the left lane. Horns are honked. Close calls are made. It’s a mess, and it’s illegal.
Police have told me they have a hard time nabbing offending parkers, namely because officers would have to be RIGHT THERE at the time of the offense since there’s only about a 10-15 minute window when it happens. At 9 am, the parking is completely legal. And it’s beloved. I’ve watched doctors and nurses and staff migrate out of the hospital just to move their cars into one of the spots. A daily, minor inconvenience for a primo, all-day, free parking place.
It seems like it’s a matter of time before the city makes that remaining area of Cherry a paid, 2-hour limit section; blocks on either end already are. Until then, the parking sharks keep at it. (BTW: There’s no parking on that same area of Cherry near the hospital heading EASTBOUND from 4-6 pm, but the same thing happens — though not as badly — as drivers will shut down the right lane by parking as early as 5:45. Good times.)
So.. have you nearly slammed into another car in the morning because of this? Or.. are you one of the parkers who does it? Please share.