Supporting Ashland through parking tickets

I love Ashland. Ashland needs money to keep us all in the atmosphere and lifestyle to which we are accustomed. Ashland must make a portion of its money from parking tickets.

Sometimes I haven't minded paying my tickets, but today, I am fed up. It was a sweet Thursday last week and our grown kids were still here from Oakland, with the beloved grandchild. They were leaving: I parked, they parked, and I took them to lunch on the Plaza — $30. We took a walk and talk in the park via the children's playground. Fun watching our grandson play. Deep talk, catching up. Cold, wow! Let's have a hot chocolate on the Plaza ... yum, $15. Hmmm, ticket for $11 — 15 minutes over the limit. That was a $56 good time. My kids didn't get a ticket. They were 10 cars farther up the boulevard. Hmmm.

I get tickets fairly often these days, when I get absorbed in my work at the Ashland Art Center and forget to move the car (never meaning to stay more than two hours). I pay those tickets and my rent at the center in a timely manner. I did contest a ticket recently, though.

I can never figure out if signs saying 15 minutes are in front of or behind the parking slot. And when there are three faded colors in a row — gray, white, green or peeling yellow — I am not quite sure what to do. That ticket did result in a letter to the judge, for which I have received no answer. Even the parking attendant took pictures, agreeing that the markings were "somewhat unclear."

I have other visitors from out of town and take them shopping in town (support Ashland). Last week, my friend got a ticket for being 1 foot into the little area between two parking spots on Gresham — she had moved forward because a bicycle was parked in the street in front of the parked car behind her spot. She hasn't decided whether to pay this ticket; we'll see.

What do I want from the city? I'm not sure. I could be a trouper and park in the four-hour parking in the rain and snow and trudge my way up and back — I'm healthy and need exercise. That is a bit discouraging, but better than having to pay or buy a ticket each time I park (a town in Southern California put up ticket meters every half block and people wait in line and then put the tickets on their dashboard — and the transition has been so frustrating that businesses are suffering). I could go ahead and park higher up Gresham or behind Evo's, but talking like this may get more city-ruled parking spots.

Maybe we could have resident stickers that allow us a little longer parking time during the dark, damp season before the tourists arrive.

Donna Hertz


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