Thursday, September 18, 2014

CHiPs and Your Friendly Neighborhood Parking Enforcement

MeTV has become one of my favorite channels.  It has a boatload of classic old TV shows that it airs, including a bunch that were favorites of mine back in the day.  Shows like the Andy Griffith Show, Hogan's Heroes, Leave It To Beaver, Cheers, and Route 66.  But they recently started airing episodes of CHiPs, one of my all-time favorites!

CHiPs was about the adventures of two California Highway Patrol officers who rode police motorcycles.  John Baker (Larry Wilcox) and Frank "Ponch" Poncharello (Erik Estrada) patrolled the highways around the Los Angeles area, chasing the bad guys, speeders, and rescuing the innocents involved in terrible accidents caused by the bad guys.  I watched the show religiously during my younger days.  The show began airing in 1976, when I was about 7 years old, and I loved seeing the incredible accidents and chases that were featured on every episode.  Watching the show now, it seems pretty cheesy.  The acting was a little over the top, though that was mostly due to the scripting and Estrada's big personality.  But it is really a time capsule of the era.  I particularly love seeing the cars.  In 1976, there were a lot of classic cars cruising the highways, including many old muscle cars, and a few cars that you never see on the road anymore, like Ford Pintos and Chevy Vegas.  Mercedes were very popular luxury cars on the show, and I'm really amazed at the number of VW Beetles.  John and Ponch seemed to be the best cops on the force, but their Sargent sure picked on Ponch a lot.  Ponch was there mostly as comedy relief, which surprised me.  I'm sure I haven't seen many of these early episodes since they first aired, but I always remembered Ponch being much more cool.  But they were always in the middle of the action, and that's what made the show so appealing.  I'm sure there were a lot of young boys who wanted to grow up to be police officers after watching this show.  I was one of them.


My neighborhood has become a free-for-all with regard to the parking rules.  Several years ago, the residents of our street agreed to a set of guidelines that would be used to enforce the rules for parking on our court.  We are a townhouse community, with half of the homes, on one side of the street, having garages and driveways, and the other half, including my house, on the other side, parking in spaces perpendicular to our homes.  There are two assigned spaces to each home, interspersed with a limited number of designated "visitors" spaces for those who are not residents.  Those homes with driveways and garages are not assigned to any spaces since there is room in their driveways for 3 cars, assuming they use the garage for parking.  There also is limited curb space for parking, as well.

Aside from the occasional visitor parking in a resident's assigned space, there really hadn't been any issues.  At one point, however, I bought a new car, and it was necessary for me to have three vehicles temporarily, until I would be able to sell one.  Since no one was using the visitor space in front of my home, I assumed it would be okay to temporarily park my third vehicle there.  After two days, our resident parking enforcement neighbor came over and asked me to refrain from parking there anymore.  He told me he had received several complaints from neighbors that I was violating the parking rules.  I thought I knew my neighbors well enough that they would tell me if they had a problem with my using the spot, but because I knowingly violated the rules, I agreed to move the car.  I parked it at the end of the street, along the curb near the open entrance to our dead-end street.  The car was only parked there for about a week, and in that time, it was vandalized twice.

Over the past year, several of my neighbors have increased the number of vehicles that they own, one of whom now owns 5 vehicles (due to two of his children now driving).  The visitors spaces are now being used regularly by them because there are too many cars for the available parking spaces.  In addition, the neighbors with driveways are using all of the available curb parking because they don't want to block their spouse's cars parked in the driveway or garage.  Parking is at a premium.  This has become especially problematic since my sister, who comes to my house each weekday morning to get my daughter off to school when I leave for work, is not being able to find parking in the morning because my neighbors are using all of the visitor's spots.  I raised this issue to the "parking official" neighbor, and was told that this was different than my situation several years ago, because I was one driver with three vehicles at the time, as opposed to my neighbors having three, four, or five vehicles with the same number of drivers, and because there just isn't enough parking anymore.  To me, there is no difference.  Visitor spaces should be for visitors.  My argument is falling on deaf ears, however, and no one will stand with me.  I'm not the type that is outspoken about things like this, so all it's doing is making me angry.  I wish there was some way to fix this situation, since I believe it's very unfair.  I think I'm going to have to have a few conversations with my neighbors.  Is it any wonder I want to move?  Stay tuned, because this isn't over.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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