In praise of Grey ghosts and parking meters

Those parking meters add amenity to the neighbourhood

I think I’m one of the few people in Sydney whose spirits rise at the site of a grey ghost (parking police). I live in an area which is mixed – about 50% of my street is businesses, mostly advertising agencies and design studios. The whole street is residents parking only, with non residents only allowed to stay for two hours.

Which means that despite this area having just about the best public transport outside the Sydney CBD (trains, buses or ferries, every five minutes or so), many people who work here drive to work and park their cars in the street. The parking fine they will get every 10 days or so is cheaper than paying for off-street parking, which is in hot demand.

So residents are unable to park their cars in the street during working hours, because the spaces are full of commuters. I’d love to have parking meters in our street – grey ghosts can be much more effective if there is a parking meter, because they don’t have to chalk the tyres of each car to record when they got there in the first place. But there is a group of residents who do have adequate offstreet parking (we have offstreet parking, but it’s our entire backyard) who campaign against parking meters for aesthetic reasons.

I’d like the solution to be that we could magically refuse parking to all commuters, without the parking meters, but it seems to me that parking meters would solve the problem pretty nicely.

Many people criticise local councils for parking meters because they are “revenue raising”. But they also have a little appreciated effect of making it much easier to enforce existing parking restrictions. If they happen to also raise a little revenue on the side, well, I for one would appreciate lower rates!

  1 comment for “In praise of Grey ghosts and parking meters

  1. March 16, 2007 at 1:43 am

    In our little corner of South London, we have a draconian set of parking zones where all the residents have to pay for permits, for themselves and visitors. The parking wardens (up to recently) were on productivity bonuses – so you can imagine the abuse of the system. We couldn’t live without zones but they’ve done in such a way so as maximise council revenues without deferring to the domestic needs of residents. And the colloquial expressions you hear for parking wardens (who are inevitably shockingly under-paid black immigrants with poor English) are nowhere near as friendly as grey ghost. Of course, being abused by employers and residents doesn’t exactly discourage them from inappropriate ticketing and on the vicious circle goes…

    We don’t own a car. Just as well.

Comments are closed.