Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Paid Parking

It seems the end has come to the free-for-all that was parking around town. You'll recall my brush with the parking police a few weeks ago (if not, you can read all about it here); and you'll recall too my surprise that anyone even cared where I parked. After all, for the past four years I've watched my husband park in all sorts of places I suspected he shouldn't and he's never received a single parking ticket.

Purolator Courier vs The Parking EnforcementImage by compscigrad via Flickr

But don't let my recent forays into lawlessness fool you; polite parking is "in my bones." I've on more than one occasion spent over half an hour circling a few blocks looking for a legal spot in Toronto; I've gotten out of my car, only to get back in and move it after seeing an 'exception' on a Toronto sign and realizing I'd parked illegally; and goodness knows I've rushed to get back to my car before the meter expire, knowing that in Toronto, two minutes can cost you. Even now, an ocean away, the sight of an advertisement printed on yellow paper stuck to my windshield momentarily makes my heart sink into my stomach.

But lately, I'd been timidly testing the waters on the wild side, leaving my car in dubious places. Imagine my surprise, then, when a few weeks ago, I found myself with my pick of parking spots on busy Ziyapaşa Bulvarı in Adana. As a young woman smartly clad in short slacks and a turquoise short-sleeved shirt smilingly approached and typed my license plate into a small wireless credit card machine, I realized the municipal government had finally realized they needed to regulate parking and eliminate chaos in one of the city's most congested areas. The 1 Lira per hour fee was nothing compared to the convenience of having my choice of parking spots.

Two days ago on a walk through town, I noticed that here in Tarsus officers had likewise appeared every hundred meters and were collecting parking fees from people as they returned to their parked cars. I was left with an odd undecided feeling: am I glad that Tarsus is "growing up," or am I sad that it's losing its village charm?
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