“Is this your car?”
“Well you’re about to get a ticket for blocking the sidewalk.”
Parking is the subject of a new A&E American reality television show. The series follows likable and smooth-talking employees of Detroit Municipal Parking Department and Philadelphia Parking Authority as they explain their work, the parts of the city they traverse and their dealings and run-ins with people who have been ticketed. The show’s website says:
The only things certain in life are death and taxes but now you can add tickets and boots to the list as A&E’s hit real-life series PARKING WARS® returns …
I briefly watched one episode that followed a ponytailed parking enforcement officer patrolling the streets of Detroit. He has his favorite neighborhoods where he looks for violations, such as cars blocking sidewalks, which he says is a “safety hazard.”
In one scene, little kids ask him why he’s doling out $30 fines and he responds, “where we’re walking – cars aren’t supposed to be here.” More kids surround him and the event becomes a lesson:
“This is the sidewalk, right here – from here to there,” he gestures, asking how a disabled person or bike rider would get through when there are cars blocking the sidewalk.
And at the end of the day it’s “all about communication,” he says. Unfortunately, in the episode I watched, communication broke down. A yelling battle ensued between the officer and a community member — these sorts of outrageous conflicts seem to be the premise of the show. However, the parking officer did come back a week later and the drama was resolved.
The series is a humorous glimpse into American car culture and the work of people whose job it is to patrol streets looking for violations. Some parking enforcers featured on the series even elucidate the complicated signage that surrounds parking procedures. Given the post we just wrote about parking in Kolkata, it would be interesting to watch video footage of parking enforcement globally.