Alternate-side parking rules hurt community


City governments provide numerous rationales for alternate side parking rules, the three main ones being improved traffic flow, encouragement of public transportation, and street cleaning. I’m not sure if these purported justifications are valid in other places or municipalities — I’m only concerned with the rules right here in New Brunswick. I can say with certainty, though, that the city of New Brunswick cites only the third as their purpose in enforcing alternate side parking rules. From the city’s website: “Alternate side parking regulations require motorists to remove their vehicle from one side of the street during a particular time period in order for the street sweeper to clean the curbline.” But is it possible that there is a fourth rationale that I did not list above? Is it possible that by instituting these parking regulations, the town is just seeking a way to increase revenue by writing tickets?

Consider this. The city distributes parking permits in proportion to the number of houses on the street. Anyone who has ever lived in the area can tell you that the city distributes too many of these permits, as it is often very difficult to find parking. On an average day, both sides of the street will be parked to capacity. Now, let’s add in alternate side parking rules, in which it becomes a punishable offense — a $25 ticket — to park on one of the two sides. How, then, is it supposed to be possible for all the cars in the area to park legally? Suppose there are 50 parking spots on a street and 50 drivers that put their cars in those spots each and every day. How are those 50 drivers supposed to find adequate parking if, by some rule, only 25 of those spots are available? The brute numerical facts make it outrageous to believe that people could reasonably comply with these rules.

New Brunswick’s alternate side parking rules are illogical and utterly outrageous, if examined closely. Why would anyone create a law that cannot be followed? It would surely be nice to have cleaner streets, but not at the expense of perpetrating injustice upon individuals. No, I think that the real purpose of this regulation is to provide another opportunity to issue tickets and force individuals to pay substantial fines. It’s most likely just a fundraising effort designed to prey on average people who are forced into an impossible situation. For most people who park on the street, there is no other option. It’s clear that a government needs money in order to function, but that government should respect the rights of its citizens in acquiring those funds. The city of New Brunswick urges you to “be a good neighbor, obey the alternate side parking rules and move your vehicle.” Perhaps the city itself should treat its neighbors with respect and only institute regulations that can in reality be obeyed.

Ryan Felder is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in philosophy and psychology.

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