Paying for parking in Ventura is like paying the piper

January 28, 2010

Parking meters are those things in life you can’t help but take kind of personally if you use them. I think parking meters, in fact, were created just to make motorists feel guilty.

We never seem to have enough loose change in our pockets to fill up a meter to the max. And if we do, we’re a bunch of bad slowpokes who can’t make it back on time to refill the meter once our time runs out. And when we get there, we’re greeted with one of two things: a big, obnoxious “TIME EXPIRED” or a big, obnoxious parking ticket on our windshields.

If driving a car was like Catholicism, then parking a car is our original sin, and parking meters the penance. We haven’t even done anything wrong to pay for parking to begin with, but we’re penalized nonetheless.

Here’s another one: if parking meters comprise the altar of parking enforcement, then Ventura is the church.

The church, rather, the city of Ventura will soon be handing down their own brand of corporal punishment on drivers after approving this week nearly $1 million in meters and pay stations to be installed throughout the downtown.

It’s a bad idea for more than a few reasons.

The most obvious theory is that downtown business is already suffering in this economy. People are reluctant to pay on everything, from dinner at a restaurant to goods from a shop. Making them pay for parking is another, added, unnecessary expense people are already unwilling to pay in the first place. Parking fees, literally, will drive them, in their cars, in the other direction, and the downtown will become even emptier as they find other, free places to park.

Another is that Ventura doesn’t need paid parking. Paid parking, in a sense, is *meant* to deter certain people from parking, those in-and-out motorists who aren’t planning on parking and spending an afternoon downtown. It’s meant to curb an overflow of traffic. Yet even on the busiest weekend, our small little beach hamlet doesn’t attract nearly a fraction of what you’ll see in, oh Santa Monica, where millions of cars will pass through on any given Saturday.

Sure, every cent from meters will benefit municipal coffers, but it’s not a megopolis like Los Angeles, where the city will end up getting their own coin flow like a jackpot on a Las Vegas slot machine.

In fact, parking meters in Ventura are less like traffic church than they are an unlucky slot machine: keep plonking coins inside the damn thing, with little to no returns. Just lemons all in a row.

In the real world, you’d be making a better monetary investment paying to drive a lemon — and park it for free on Main Street — than you would paying for parking.

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One Response to “Paying for parking in Ventura is like paying the piper”

  1. Ron Rice Says:

    First off, I would guess that many Ventura residents don’t what the kind of traffic Santa Monica has or be anything like that city. Yes, it’s on the beach but the city’s a dump that’s overrun with homeless pukes.
    Second, Local Government is just looking for ways to pay for all the unnecessary services that people won’t give up. Wake up, something has to give…… Everything has a cost. Cut cost and the need for parking meters would disappear. You can’t have it both ways.
    So either support cutting feel good programs or start carrying change.

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