Parking “Gate,” Snowpocalypse, And Common SenseBy
A word or two about fairness and common sense. Maybe more than two.
There’s been a stink this week about an Asheville city councilman using his parking pass to unjam a traffic jam in a county parking deck caused, he said, by a malfunctioning exit gate.
WLOS-TV asked drivers what they thought about the councilman waving through others without paying. One said, “Wow, that doesn’t seem fair.”
We have some strange ideas about what’s fair. (View image before continuing.)
Suppose she parked in the lot on Friday and paid the $8 day rate then parked in the lot on Saturday and paid the $5 flat rate. Was her Friday self treated unfairly because she paid more than her Saturday self? Or did her Saturday self cheat her Friday self by paying less? If her Friday self parked for an hour and paid $1 and her Saturday self parked for an hour and paid $5, who was treated unfairly? And when the county opens decks and allows anyone to park for free?
Don’t even go there.
The 90-minute event at Pack Square Park on Monday drew 10,000 people last year. When approving special events, city parking decks charge a flat rate going in so drivers leave unimpeded afterwards. The County Manager’s office didn’t do that Monday. Does that make any sense?
There are two public exits for this deck. One automated. One manned. The event was scheduled to end at 6:30 p.m. but the manned exit closed at 5:30 p.m. Does that make any sense?
After the event ended, a county employee stood beside the automated gate feeding tickets into the machine for drivers because it worked slowly or not at all. To relieve the four-level traffic jam, the city councilman used his swipe card to let 60-some drivers out the employee gate without paying. This, the news tells us, was a mistake for which the councilman will reimburse the county.
Except after telling newsmen the average cost to park in that deck is $3.50, the County Manager’s office sent the councilman a bill for $8 for each car leaving the 90-minute event — the daily maximum. Does that make any sense?
When the governor, city, and county declared a snow emergency in February and the Highway Patrol asked people to stay off the roads, the Register of Deeds closed his office and 17 employees took time off.
But since the county doesn’t have an inclement weather policy that allows closing offices in a declared emergency, the news tells us the closing was also a mistake. Does that make any sense?
Instead of asking the Register to reimburse the county for the 17 employees’ time as the councilman will for 60 cars, the news tells us the County Manager’s office recommended that hundreds of other county employees get an additional 13 hours off. Because fairness. Does that make any sense?
Exactly who is making the mistakes here?
BTW: When I drove up to the gate in my F150 on Monday and handed my ticket to the county’s man, the pay mechanism wouldn’t accept the ticket. Locked up solid. He tried it several times. Nothing. Frustrated, he took a key, opened a panel on the gate mechanism, lifted the gate manually, and waved me through (or we might still be there). The same thing — same gate, different attendant — happened to us a couple of years ago. The County Manager’s office insists “the exit gate was functioning properly.” Or was that another mistake?