Sunday, May 30, 2010

Special Treatment for Visitors, Citizens Treated Differently

Something I've been noticing these past few weeks, especially while hanging around downtown Indianapolis, is how this city goes out of our way to please visitors while citizens have to make accommodations for them.

Tomas Scheckter, one of the participants in the Indy 500 on Sunday, was ticketed on Saturday for going 100mph on I-65. Law enforcement officers told him that normally, an arrest would be proper, but they went easy on him with a ticket.

This is a prime example of how the city goes out of it's way to elevate visitors while giving those of us who live here a different standard. Anybody who reads this blog is probably not in a privliged enough position to get lenience from police or any government official.

I'd like to be clear that this is not something I hold against Scheckter, who seemed to take this encounter with the law seriously. And it isn't his fault that the police let him off easy. But it isn't the first time something like this happened.

About a month ago, I was walking around downtown and I decided to go to the Panera Bread at Circle Center. There was also a marathon that was going through the intersection a few people, including myself, were trying to cross. The cops were directing traffic so nothing would interfere with the marathon, and we didn't try to disrupt it either. So when a gap in runners was noticed, we decided to cross during that gap. We had already waited for at least 10 minutes, and we weren't preventing anyone from crossing, and all traffic seemed to have stopped. And about halfway out, an officer started shouting at us to get back onto the corner. I kept walking and ignored the officer, but one other told the officer he'd been waiting long enough,and also kept walking.

I chatted with this man inside Panera and learned that he, with his son, was visiting Indianapolis for the first time, and didn't feel like he was treated well. He mentioned to me that the officer should've been directing traffic and pedestrians, as well as the marathoners, rather than expecting everyone to stop for them.

I'm also constantly hearing stories of locals trying to find parking on the weekends and evenings to go to a downtown business or visit a friend and being greeted by a "NO PARKING" sign due to an "Emergency Order." I'd sure like to know what the "Emergency Order" was keeping all those signs up on the meters throughout Sunday, well after the parade ended on Saturday. Or maybe the Department of Code Enforcement should hire people who are willing to work nights and weekends instead of the ones currently doing the job. I hear a lot of people are looking for work.


  1. Those no parking signs should have indicated Saturday, unless that's another 'economy being realized' by the city - not bothering anymore to scrawl a date on them.

    On the lighter side, I was downtown one day when some of those signs were in place. I was in a line of cars that slowed to look a a potential parking space but then drove away. Once I got up there I noticed the restriction was for the next day, so I happily parked close to my desination.

  2. DI, there are three types of the plastic or cardboard signs. One say "No Parking", another says "No Parking [day of the week"" and the third says "No Parking Today." All three are followed by stuff about an Emergency Order from IMPD/IPD, and say "IMPD Form No. 2-4-108 XX" in the lower right hand corner.

    Even though the sign might say a day in the future or past, I've heard that cops and Denison workers will still ticket cars for not feeding the meter, even if the sign blocks off the meter. And if it has a red bag over the meter, that'll make it impossible to park there.

    I've been told my Corporate Council/City Legal that the Department of Code Enforcement is in charge of putting up these signs. Seems like Code Enforcement needs to get workers who'll get out of bed on Friday nights or Saturday mornings instead of putting signs up 1-3 days in advance of an event.

  3. On the other hand, you COULD be right. I don't want to seem as if I'm dismissing your claim completely. I'd like to know the official policy on parking at a meter is that has a sign on it with a different date. Maybe what I've heard is just the workings of a rogue Denison employee and the tickets were thrown out.

  4. Sure they will ticket you if it's a weekday and within the metering hours. Just having a future/post-dated parking sign won't absolve you from paying to park.

    They put the date on for the very reason it defines when the 'no parking' is in effect.

    The signs are probably installed in advance to reduce the number of people required, having one or two do it over multiple days and to give advance notice. They used to have the regular downtown patrol officer post the signs, which clearly diverts them from patrolling.

    And the red bags are 100% no parking anytime. They are actually leased (in a sense) for various special events (not cases like around the state house or Fed buildings) for $35/day per meter. It is a fee paid by the event promoter.

    I can't begin to count the number of times I was downtown in the evening or a weekend and saw someone about to put money in the meter. I'd always tell them they don't need to but some would go ahead anyway.

    The one and only time I got ticketed was when the meter window was badly abraded and I though it said it had 20 minutes but it was 20 minutes past the expiration. I went to court on it but the judge's first question was 'did you put any money in it?' When I told him I didn't because I thought it had time left, that was the end of it. He said we are supposed to put money in for the time we are parked, whether it has any time on it or not. Fortunately, the cost was something paltry like $12 (yeah, several years ago, well before Judge Young, fortunately).

  5. That is actually very useful info. I never knew that about the red bagged meters. Thanks.


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