Lots of luck: After reading Patricia Calhoun's "Time's Up," in the December 19 issue, I don't feel so bad about recently receiving a parking ticket in Denver.
A resident of Colorado Springs, I visit Denver on a fairly regular basis. Last year, a friend of mine moved into a loft building on Champa Street. It has become a battle of wits to find a place to park other than the high-priced parking lots, and now that they are charging outrageous prices to park at the meters, I really try to avoid going downtown, even to see my friend. The thing that really galls me is that the private parking services limit their overnight parking times until 6 a.m., and the meters aren't available until 7 a.m. If you stay at the parking lot for the extra hour, you pay another $3 to $5. If you move your car to a meter before 7 a.m., you risk getting a ticket. So you end up dashing around like a junkie needing a fix. Are the parking guys and city in cahoots?
Last month, after moving my car from a private lot to the meters at 7:30 a.m., I was really pissed off to find that despite parking at the correct time, I was given a $30 ticket for having no front license plate. I didn't know it was illegal to not have a plate on the front of my car, since it was never brought to my attention in Colorado Springs. (As you drive around both the Springs and Denver, you will see that approximately one-fourth of all drivers don't have a front license plate.) Now I am afraid to park my car anywhere in Denver for fear of getting a ticket for not having a front license plate.
It is bad enough that the city is "carjacking" the public with increased meter fees, crazy authorized times to park and limited times to park, but now it appears it is looking for any "ordinance violation" to increase city revenue.
Although I like visiting Denver and spending my hard-earned money there legitimately, I am really feeling like the victim of a crime perpetuated against drivers. Calhoun's article was dead on target. With my $30 and her $40, the city has added to its ever-increasing windfall. Maybe I'll just avoid going to Denver and save a lot more than the cost of a good time.
Violators will be persecuted: Is it just me, or is the City of Denver really hurting for revenue?
On Monday, January 6, I woke up to the pleasant surprise of my car being booted in Capitol Hill due to unpaid parking tickets. I didn't know I had them because of misinformation from representatives of the Parking Violations Bureau and postal errors. As a friend was driving me to the light-rail stop so I could begin to take care of these problems, I saw two Denver police officers within a block of the Capitol pulling motorists over and writing tickets, presumably for speeding. As I got on the light rail, there were two more agents from RTD ticketing passengers for not having paid for the light rail.
On January 9, while driving up Santa Fe, I neglected to notice that my speedometer had inched up slightly past the legal limit. I was promptly pulled over by one of Denver's finest and given a $100-plus ticket.
Currently I am unemployed, and I have been for the majority of 2002. During this latest incident, I was on my way to the public library to use the Internet for job-hunting reasons. If I want to continue to use my car, I have no choice but to drive myself into further credit-card debt in order to pay this latest fine from my beloved city.
I wish I had crime statistics in front of me. I am sure that every few minutes, someone in this city is getting murdered, raped, attacked, mugged or burglarized, and another illegal meth lab is producing drugs that will be offered to young schoolchildren. I find it hard to believe that these problems are being appropriately addressed with so many of our police officers spending their valuable time ticketing our fine citizens left and right for the most minor of offenses. Is this how cadets graduating from the academy dream of passing their days as uniformed officers?
Give us a break, Denver. Many of your citizens are struggling to make ends meet during these tough economic times. If you need revenue, get creative and find some other way to do it. Every time I witness another of these incidents, I feel a little more like Dirty Harry, just waiting for someone to "make my day."