Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parking Issues

I'm not a fan of living in a townhouse development.  While we like our neighbors for the most part, parking becomes such a contentious issue when there is limited parking in the neighborhood.  Our neighborhood consists of one street.  On one side, there are parking spaces, 2 for each household, plus about ten "visitors" spaces which are for visitors, of course.  On the other side of the street, all of the townhouses have driveways and garages, with enough room for three cars, if the garages are used.  I have two vehicles, so I use both spaces that are assigned to me.  There are well marked, with numbers, while the visitor spaces all have "visitor" spelled out on them.

Several years ago, I bought my current little 2-seater, and I planned to sell my Mustang outright.  So for a short period of time, about a month, I had three vehicles.  Since there was a visitors space just outside my house, and no one used it about 90% of the time, I parked the Mustang there.  After two days, one of my neighbors came over to lecture me about using the visitor spot for personal use.  I argued that I'd be happy to move it if someone needed to use it, but he said he had already heard complaints and just wanted to let me know.  I was a little bit angry that someone would complain behind my back, but deep down, I knew he was right.  The rules are pretty clear about using the visitor spots.  Anyway, my sister was using one every morning when I left work, anyway, since she got my daughter up and ready for school.  I just parked my Mustang at the end of the block, in a prime location for someone to steal it easily without any prying eyes even noticing.  But I didn't want to upset my neighbors, and since, technically, they're right, it was the right thing to do.

Fast forward a few years, and the same neighbor now has a third vehicle, a classic convertible.  He mostly parks it in his garage, but he makes his wife now park along the curb.  While this isn't a visitor spot, it IS in one of the few places one can park if there are no visitors spots available.  I stewed but didn't say anything.

More recently several of my neighbor's kids are now able to drive, and they have cars of their own now to drive.  So these families are taking three, maybe even four spaces for all of their vehicles.  Our neighborhood is rapidly getting more and more crowded.  Several of these families have decided that, since they have so many vehicles, they should be able to park in a visitors spot, if one is available or not being used.  It's the same argument I tried to use, but I was yelled at, yet, aside from myself, no one seems to be upset about this.  What makes this worse, though, is that now my sister, who arrives each morning at 5:45 a.m., has no where to park.  All of the visitor's spots are filled, so she parks in the only spot that's available:  one of my neighbor's assigned spots.  Then, when I leave for work, she moves her car into my spot.  The whole situation is ridiculous.  The homeowners association has said that the home owners on our street will determine the parking policy for our street.  Since this was already done a few years ago, that's the policy that's in effect.

Another problem in our neighborhood is the type of tree that was planted in the common areas next to the parking areas.  They're crab apple trees.  Crab apples are small berries that birds seem to love, but apparently don't digest very well and result in bird droppings that are similar to acid, which just destroys the paint on cars parked under these trees.  Whoever determined that crab apple trees should be planted next to parked cars never had to park their car under one.  One of my assigned spaces is under one of these trees.  Once I figured out what was happening to my cars, I got a cover for one of them.  However, now I have my Jeep Liberty parked there, and I don't want to invest in a new cover to fit the Jeep.  And my paint is horrible.  Again, I complained to the homeowners association multiple times over the years, and nothing was ever done.

A few years ago, they decided to re-stripe the parking area, and that meant re-painting the lettering/numbering on the parking spots, as well.  So I switched my space with the visitors space in front of my house.  That kind of took care of the problem, but the tree has grown so much that the branches now hang over both spots, and I still have the same problem.  Then last week, out of nowhere, I got a postcard in the mail saying that all of the trees are coming down.  This news really surprised me, but as much as I love trees, I'll be happy to see these go.  But many of my neighbors, particularly those who don't have to park under the trees, have made a big stink about the whole thing,  They just don't seem to get it.  Anyway, I guess the whole problem could have been avoided if I had just bought one of the more expensive homes with the garage so I wouldn't have to fight so much with my neighbors.

Hope you all have better parking than I do!  Have a great evening!

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