When it was announced last year that the City of Atlanta was bringing in a private contractor to handle parking enforcement, the story may have been lost on many Atlantans. For starters, when the word “parking” is in the headline, most people probably skip whatever follows (this means, by the way, that if you are still reading this post you are either a friend, family member, or someone that resents being referred to as “most people”). Just look at today’s local paper: popular stories include an escaping circus Zebras, Prince William’s hair, and analysis on whether or not Tiger Woods has a meaningful relationship with the concept most of us know as “reality”. News about parking, I’m afraid, just doesn’t move the meter.
Eventually, all good press releases translate in to some sort of action, and inevitably a new parking enforcement program was launched. Under the new system, the City of Atlanta is no longer in the business of writing parking tickets. Instead, the City receives a guaranteed $5.5 million dollars per year and their new private partner- known affectionately as PARKatlanta, has the ability to write as many parking tickets as they legally can. And let’s face it: if you wrote a $5.5 million dollar check, you too would be eager to write a bunch of $45 parking tickets to recoup your investment.
The moral of my story? Park with care. PARKatlanta isn’t going anywhere, and they’re definitely going to be meter-maiding us all to oblivion in an effort to make some money on their investment. If a sign says no parking, it means that you shouldn’t park there. If there’s a meter, you need to feed it. Two hour parking means, sadly, two hour parking. One giant parking bummer, I know.
And, of course, you could always take MARTA.