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Old 01-04-2020, 06:20 PM
 
Location: St. Paul, MN
320 posts, read 740,903 times
Reputation: 452

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This past Christmas eve, I parked in a city lot on the south side of Bethlehem. Every spot had a meter. I put in an hour and a half's worth of quarters, thinking it would be enough time to eat dinner and thinking it likely that holidays were exempt from meter enforcement, as is typical in all the smaller cities I can remember traveling to. I looked all over the meter but could find no mention of holidays. The lot was only about half full and it was a small city.

I came out of the restaurant after about an hour and a half to a $10 ticket.

At first I was in disbelief. Not only were the meters enforced on the evening of Christmas eve, in a lot that was only half full, but the officer had to have been pretty much onsite waiting for the time to expire to write the ticket before I came out of the restaurant.

After pondering the situation for a while, I realized that I'm not the one losing here. $10 is relatively insignificant and they provide multiple quick and easy methods to pay. The city is the one losing. Because they left me with a bad taste in my mouth and an extraordinarily negative perception of Bethlehem city leadership. On future trips, I will drive elsewhere to get dinner. Extrapolate that to all visitors who make a similar mistake and Bethlehem is undoubtedly losing a lot of business. It's a nice place. I was impressed at the historic cityscape and number of good restaurants. But it's not worth the risk and hassle to me when there are plenty of other places to go.

Technically they were correct to cite me. I had been parked there for a few minutes too long and the writing on the meter did not say anything about holidays being exempt.

My disappointment is the combination of three factors: It being the evening prior to a major holiday, the officer presumably waiting to ticket the minute the meter ran out, and the parking lot being merely half full showing that parking was not at a premium at that time.

Googling found this thread from 2009:
//www.city-data.com/forum/lehig...m-parking.html
which shows that it's a known problem and seems to have been so for at least 10 years now.

I can only imagine there are BPA apologists out there that will reply with their justification for this ticket. But opinions do not change the fact that their enforcement methodology is pushing visitors away.

To be clear, meters and time limits serve an important function. They prevent people who are there for a longer duration from occupying convenient spots that are best suited to those who are there for a shorter duration. Requiring payment ensures people won't park there for longer than they need to, thereby opening up the spot for someone else. I think it's reasonable to have meters in this lot. But when the lot is half full and it's the eve of a holiday, overstaying by a few minutes is an extremely minor infraction and would be best served by a warning...

...or, as an alternative, add wording to all meters clarifying that they are indeed enforced on holidays.

Although I will likely be back in the region many times, as a result of this ticket I don't expect to ever come back to downtown Bethlehem. There are plenty of other places to eat dinner.

I truly hope any locals that care could work with the city council and the director of the BPA to reduce overzealous ticketing and, in doing so, make Bethlehem a more welcoming place to visitors. Businesses will thank you. I can only imagine that this is having a negative effect on business.

Last edited by toobusytoday; 01-05-2020 at 05:07 PM.. Reason: Removed spaces for easier reading on mobile devices
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:00 PM
 
12,841 posts, read 29,226,869 times
Reputation: 7403
We got a ticket in Beverly Hills California years ago by overstaying our metered time. We were mad- at ourselves for not putting enough money in the meter.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:47 PM
 
9 posts, read 3,957 times
Reputation: 15
There is no such things as holidays as a cop, just days with more chances of crime and ability to enforce minor parking laws due to people being relaxed/intoxicated. I suggest parking in Beth township and taking the bus as the township has no parking restrictions and if you plan on drinking can always call a TNC back to the car or a place to rest. Nobody will touch your car parked in the township, but again this may not work for everyone.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:29 AM
 
1,804 posts, read 1,779,952 times
Reputation: 2727
Anger at a whole $10 ticket that was your own fault? Well alrighty.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:12 AM
 
4 posts, read 3,532 times
Reputation: 10
Lol.........ok. You know there is a app you can use for the meters? I use it and pretty much the majority of the area.
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