Can Seattle Save the Budget Through Parking Tickets Alone?

Can Seattle Save the Budget Through Parking Tickets Alone?

Since the start of 2010, I've received four parking tickets: one for parking my monster truck too far away from the curb, one for parking a previously-zoned and permitted car outside of the restricted area, and two because the meter expired. The latter of the two involved a parking ticket at a thrift store and an argument with a hefty, scowling woman with a Segway who looked as if she stepped out of a Mockumentary on Meter Maids. Despite my best efforts and my obvious skill at the English language (NOT), I lost the argument and was still ticketed for $39.00 for the aggrevious error of not cutting in line at the thrift store as I waited in line behind an indecisive and drugged-up tranny.

That's why I wasn't surprised today to read that Seattle Meter Maids (and their male equivalents) wrote 508,675 parking tickets in 2009 in the city of Seattle- the number of tickets given by Seattle Parking Enforcement is estimated by the Seattle Times as more than 1 a minute over the course of a year. Parking tickets generated $18.4 million in revenue for the city last year as the number of legal and free parking spots decreased.

The city's reason for decreasing the number of parking spots is to decrease driving and increase the use of public transit which hasn't happened yet. People are still driving because public transportation here hasn't quite caught up to the needs of most commuters.

You might be surprised at the starting salary Meter Maids earn- almost $50 grand a year, plus benefits, which I think is not a bad salary for a position that doesn't require anything beyond a high school diploma. Of course, dealing with continued complaints from drivers all day might not be as enjoyable as you may imagine. As the woman interviewed by the Seattle Times implied, those working as Parking Enforcers like to tease each other about their jobs- when she doesn't get enough tickets, she imagines her co-workers saying, "There are plenty of people who aren't getting tickets now because Linda can't roll."

Unfortunately for the car-, truck-, and motorcycle-driving public of Seattle, the city is expected to generate even more revenue from parking violations during 2010. Just be aware that that special spot you had to park in near your friend's house might now have a meter. As a word to the wise, if you live here, you have to be prepared to pay to park wherever you go.