Thursday, January 8, 2009

Houston to Crackdown on Parking Meter Time Limits


One of the most endearing aspects of living in a major city is the time-consuming search for a convenient parking spot every time you have a need to be downtown. I remember multiple episodes of Seinfeld in which George would find the perfect spot for his vehicle and either be met with the threat of physical violence from a much larger man interested in the same piece of real estate or refuse ever to leave his destination out of the realization that he would never discover such an ideal spot of asphalt again. Perhaps to much less dramatic extent, I am sure we have all experienced some type of parking confrontation. Just check out any shopping mall the day after Thanksgiving. With the new year, Houston has developed a new way to add to the frustration of those who park downtown.

Yesterday, the Houston City Council approved tight enforcement of the time limit on the city's parking meters. If the meter has a limit of an hour, your car better not call that spot home for longer than the designated time. Even the time-honored tradition of running out to feed the meter just before it expires will no longer be allowed. This practice foils the intention of the time limit, which is to keep traffic moving in and out of certain areas. Local businesses believe this crackdown will provide more available spots for potential customers. Other high traffic areas, like the courthouse, also should have more spots opening on a regular basis. So, you should have an easier time parking your car if you need to visit the court to fight a ticket you received at some other meter.

There will be a one-month grace period during which warnings will be given to those who do not obey the posted time limit. After that, $25 tickets will be issued. Of course, all of us at Bertolino LLP hope that you respect the new ordinance and act accordingly. However, I know that finding a ticket on your windshield can be frustrating after a long day. If you make the unfortunate decision to damage public property by repeatedly smashing a hard or sharp object against the meter, you will need legal representation. Please visit our Houston office to discuss your case. Don't worry ... we validate.

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