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December 08, 2006

Who Owns the Curb?

When I arrived home on Wednesday at 4pm, I noticed that something was different on my street. Usually at this time of day, our block is parked up end to end, but that day the east side was curiously empty. And then I saw the signs: "2 Hour Parking -- Residential Permit Exempt." These signs apply to the east side of the street on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and to the west side on Tuesday and Thursday.

I knew something evil like this was in the works because at one point last summer a neighbor came by asking me to sign the petition. I refused on principal -- the curb belongs to the city and anyone who lives or works in the city should have equal access to it -- but he came back when David was home to ask him to sign it and got an earful. David and I feel that the free parking on our street subsizides the downtown businesses we patronize. Free parking on our street helps keep costs down for local businesses whose employees park there, and in turn lowers our cost of living, allowing us to live downtown, where we can walk to work. As we like to say, "others park so that we may walk." We really don't care who parks on our street, as long as they don't abandon cars in front of our house (you would be surprised at how frequently this happens) and as long as their cars aren't leaking oil (yes, we have seen this too).

We were surprised, however, that the signs had simply gone up without anyone notifying us or even giving us a chance to buy a residential parking permit. I guess the city was just a little bit behind on this, because yesterday we finally got a letter saying "Congratulations! City Council has approved [that your block] be added to the existing Spring-Brooks-Summit Residential Parking Permit District." Oh boy! This entitles me to pay $40 a year to park in front of my own house and another $40 if I want to get a permit for a guest to park here. There are a few bizarre quirks to the program. First, even though I will never need to park on the street because I have a driveway, I can't get a guest permit unless I first buy a permit for my own car. Second, a resident has to own a car in order to buy a permit. This means that if I didn't have a car, but did occasionally rent or borrow one, and if I didn't have a driveway and needed to park the rented/borrowed car on the street, I wouldn't be able to get a permit for it, despite owning a house on the block.

David pointed out a few other anomalies -- according to Ann Arbor city code, Residential Parking Permit Districts are supposed to be at least sixteen contiguous blocks. Our block is not contiguous with the district we are supposedly a part of, which itself is fewer than sixteen blocks. What's up with that? For more about residential parking, see the discussion of this issue at Arbor Update.

Posted by eklanche at December 8, 2006 07:53 AM


Gas. It was leaking gas. An oil leak wouldn't have been that big a deal, at least not in the sense of an immanent fire or possible explosion.

Posted by: dmerch at December 8, 2006 10:34 AM

Thanks for the correction, David. My memory fails me at times :)

Posted by: eklanche at December 9, 2006 02:17 PM

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