Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sweet & Sour

Taste of Amherst Day 2 

 Fearless Jada flying 

Just when you safely thought Amherst town center could not get any more inviting--the aroma of food from a plethora of providers, a live band rocking the crowd, weather more gorgeous than the day before, all topped off by a BIG beautiful American flag flapping high over the proceedings--you come upon THIS:

 Parking Ticket (bad) Taste of Amherst

A friendly reminder of the town's anti-business demeanor.

 Large signs distributed throughout parking lot in front of Town Hall

Why is it the town allows free parking around Christmas to attract visitors to the downtown but not for the biggest event of the year--The Taste of Amherst?

 If you really squint you can see the 8AM to 8PM on paystation behind Town Hall, but no other signage

Boxers figured out a long time ago that the closing round of a fight is the one that makes a lasting impression on the judges.  Topping off a fun family night with a parking ticket leaves behind a very bad taste--one that makes consumers think twice about patronizing the downtown.


Anonymous said...

That's why you park in the lot near People's Bank that BoA owns. No meters and no attendant.

Anonymous said...

Peter Vickery said...

I think our parking enforcement officers must be in the pay of a foreign power (i.e. Hadley).

Anonymous said...

So we have parking enforcement at 6:05 p.m.?

There may be a more elegant word to attach to this as public policy, but "dumb" is the first one that comes to mind.

So this is the calling card we leave to someone from out of town returning to his or her card: whatever the opposite of "come again" is.

Rich Morse

LarryK said...

Yeah we do. Parking Garage enforcement is until 8:00 PM (which I always thought was kind of dumb) but apparently the town also treats the lot behind Town Hall like the Parking Garage.

Who knew?

The lot in front of Town Hall and Spring Street have large signs near the machines saying enforcement is 8AM-6PM (and on the machines as well), but the lot behind Town Hall has no such large sign only the small print on the pay machine saying 8AM-8PM.

I'll appeal it to a higher authority (the Parking God, or Goddess)

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the misprint in the earlier post: "returning to his or her car" is what I meant.

The operative word in this situation is "discretion", and our town government can and should use it in these situations. You know people are coming into town for the evening, You know that people with young children will be coming and parking early. This particular event is supposed to be an opportunity for local restaurants to entice you (and your family) to come back (presumably in your motor vehicle) and spend more money on another occasion. The ticket says "think again".

I assume that that officer wrote out some tickets on other cars around the same time.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

Spill the beans, Larry - is that your ticket?

Parking in Amherst is dirt cheap, a couple hours for $1 or less: you put $1 in the meter now, you save $10 later - sound like a good deal to you?

I never understood why the garage charges till 8PM while the street meters charge till only 6PM. It should be the same all around: enforce till 8PM (and get a bit of revenue from the dinner crowd.

And please don't say they are going to drive to Northampton and back - or even to Hadley and back - to save that $1 because the extra gas alone is going to cost about at least that much- unless they're irrational.


LarryK said...

Of course it's my ticket (although I would have bitched equally if it had been given to Mr. Morse under the same circumstances).

I knew a few people who will not come to downtown Amherst because they were once given a ticket under similar circumstances.

Hardly "irrational"; all too human.

Anonymous said...

They *used* to suspend parking meter enforcement during the Taste, in the late 90s... what's funny is, they gave me a ticket anyway! I appealed it with a xerox of the article from the Bulletin that said parking was free, and the ticket was withdrawn. I always wondered, though, how many people didn't know to appeal. And why send parking enforcement officers out when you have clearly said there would be free parking?
Seemed a little bait and switch....

Anonymous said...

I don't think TM knows how the human brain works.

Yes, people will stay OUT of downtown if they fear getting a ticket. It's not about the $1, it's about having to focus on getting the larger charge.

When you go to Northampton, you get the first hour free in the parking garage. You walk straight from the garage into downtown businesses. Now that's a community that's using its collective head.

This is about more than just Larry bitching about getting a ticket.

Anonymous said...

I agree: the parking should be free.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even know there was parking behind town hall.

LarryK said...

At one time an exclusive perk for town employees.

Anonymous said...

There should be certain days when town government is not trying to make an extra buck off of hapless parkers.

How about giving our local businesses a chance against the competition at the malls?

Anonymous said...

Also, most metered/timed spaces allow you to prepay only 2 hours. I've gotten two tickets simply because a large-group meal at a restaurant ran long, and I didn't think to excuse myself during dessert to go feed the meter.

Agree with Anonymous 8:46 a.m.; Noho has it right, re: ease of payment, availability, and length of parking. As a result I've never driven to Northampton, not been able to find parking, given up and gone home/somewhere else, as I have had to do in Amherst. For takeout dinner orders, I never call them in until I have actually found available parking. If I can't find parking, businesses lose the business.

Anonymous said...

Why do we have to pay for parking anyway. How do the malls survive with free parking? Where do our parking dollars go? In the town's general coffers?

Anonymous said...

From my own experience and that of others I know, the Parking Clerk doesn't seem very supportive of any parking ticket appeals (remember when people at the Amherst Cinema were getting tickets because their movies went longer than their meters). I would be curious to know what percentage of appeals are granted. Not many I expect.

Anonymous said...

If you really squint you can see it? You don't have to squint. It's written in larger type than the hours of enforcement displayed on a parking meter. And it's right on the front. You just didn't pay attention. Don't blame the town. Blame yourself.

LarryK said...

I can tell you have a background in customer service.