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April  29

Montclair: We'll Give You Five Minutes

While it wouldn't have helped our friends from Tenafly, we're sure plenty of other folks may appreciate the kinder, gentler five-minute grace period on parking meters in Montclair. At least until July 1st, when it's back to business as usual.

Township Manager Joseph Hartnett sent the order to the Montclair Police Department to implement the policy on a trial basis through June 30.

“We figured we’d give it a try,” Hartnett said of initiating the grace period. He added that it was also a public relations move against what some have called too-rigorous enforcement of expired meters.

The digital parking meters in Montclair count down beyond “zero” to show how much time has expired. Until the end of June, parking tickets for expired meters should be issued only when “- :05” flashes on the display. Parkers who let the meter tick past five minutes risk finding $28 tickets on their windshields. “If it’s [more than] five minutes, you get a ticket and that’s it,” Mayor Ed Remsen said.

April 29, 2005 in Only in Montclair | Permalink


This is silliness. I can't believe that grown people came up with such a ludicrous idea--a 5 min grace period. Like that will make a huge difference.

I could never understand people's self righteous rage about parking tickets. "I only parked along the yellow curb for a few minutes to run in and get my STarbucks, and those NAzi meter maids gave me a ticket!" "I was only a few minutes late, and the ticket was on my windshield." "I pay taxes in this town, I dont need parking tickets on top of it."

Shut up and pay the two dollars.

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 29, 2005 10:32:52 AM

No way it's two dollars. It's closer to $15, and this new $28 fine will be even higher. Add to it the fact that the meter folks practically wait for the meters to expire so they can write you a ticket.

Posted by: Meter Mad | Apr 29, 2005 11:08:56 AM

They wait for the meters to expire before writing a ticket? That's shocking.

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 29, 2005 11:21:11 AM

It's $23 and the meter maids seem to wait to pounce with unholy glee. They're nasty, too.

Posted by: latebloomer | Apr 29, 2005 11:22:33 AM

If you're paying $300 for a colander and $500 for a belt, $20+ is no sweat for a parking ticket. The idea really is, always has been, that when the meter runs out you're in violation. Why is that so hard a concept for so many people to grasp? And it works whether we're talking Montclair or Charleston, NYC or Atlantic City. Just as long as the new Popeyes comes with free parking, there's absolutely no problem here.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 29, 2005 11:29:28 AM

Yank all meters and have all businesses raise their prices -- say, to $323 for a colander and $523 for a belt!

Posted by: Chris | Apr 29, 2005 11:39:37 AM

The meter maids are nasty? I was getting my son a haircut on Valley road when some jerk who had parked on the yellow line "just for a few minutes" to run into the post office came into the shop cursing and swearing that he'd gotten--horrors!--a parking ticket. You'd be nasty too if you had to deal with idiots like that.

I don't believe for a minute, Cathar, that you've ever seen the inside of a Popeyes.

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 29, 2005 11:41:10 AM

I agree that they are nasty. It's one thing to do your job but what's with the attitude?

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 29, 2005 11:48:45 AM

Maybe there should be an ordinance requiring them to write a happy face on each parking ticket.

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 29, 2005 11:51:27 AM

I got a ticket two weeks ago on Valley. The meter read -:01. I would bet the meter reader had been standing there for ten minutes waiting.

Posted by: Cheryl | Apr 29, 2005 11:52:08 AM

Why not just a common courtesy to trust that people who are late usually are late b/c something happened to hold them up. Maybe they had to stop and help a town visitor find out how to get to Church Street, etc.

Not everyone who goes down town is purchasing a $300 colander. (I wouldnt buy a $30 colander!) To many people, $28 for being 1 minute late can really make a huge impact on their budget.

Why not institute 5 minutes of grace period, in case something does hold you up. If you're beyond 5 mins, you got a ticket. But just be gracious.


Posted by: butchcjg | Apr 29, 2005 12:25:38 PM

Butch, maybe the meter maids should ask why people are late, listen to their stories, and judge whether or not the lateness was due to activity that was in the interests of the town. They could be issued guidelines. If the person was late because they were dealing drugs, or selling porn, then no leniency. If they were helping out of town rubes find $300 collanders, then they're off the hook.

The five minute grace period reminds me of my mother, who once decided to set her clock 5 minutes fast so she wouldn't be late for appointments. She learned quickly to compensate, so she set the clock ahead 15 minutes, then half an hour. She was still late.

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 29, 2005 1:00:37 PM

So now instead of 30 minutes we get 35. Instead of one hour, we get 1:05. Big deal. I don't think that it will work in the long run but it is worth a try. I don't know why people are getting so worked up about it.
The meter maids (male or female) are paid to enforce the rules, not make them. If the town changes the rules, so be it. Its kind of funny to hear people complaining about municiple employees because they do thier jobs.

Posted by: bitpusher | Apr 29, 2005 1:40:01 PM

"It's kind of funny to hear people complaining about municipal employees because they do their jobs."

I'm not complaining about them doing their jobs. It's the attitude that goes along with it. I am sure for most working folks (this includes meter people), there are people/clients/customers, whatever that are difficult to deal with at times. However, we have control over how we choose to deal with them. Why should you be snotty and nasty to the people who are, technically, paying your salary?

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 29, 2005 2:02:03 PM

To me, the whole idea behind meters is not to collect the 50 cents for an hour of parking, it's to get the $28.00 from that person that is a minute or a few minutes late. That's 56 hours worth of legit parking made in a few minutes. Also, how many times have I put coins in the meter and pulled out of the spot with time still left. Someone else now gets to park on my dime. Obviously, the opposite has occured and I have parked on someone elses dime on occassion.

I also find it interesting that all the parking around the movie theaters are at the most 2 hours. What if you go to see a mantinee and the movie is more than 2 hours. You have to leave the movie and put coins in the meter or risk that $28.00 fine.

Posted by: parkinlot | Apr 29, 2005 2:20:51 PM

I truly can't believe the outrage over parking meters and tickets.

Who cares if the meter maids aren't nice... this sounds like a thankless job to me. I doubt they are sitting there waiting to pounce and I'm sure they get an earful each time they write a ticket and someone shows up just as they are putting it on the windshield.

Put your money in the meter. Get back on to the car on time.

Grow up folks.

Posted by: Pam | Apr 29, 2005 2:24:17 PM

"Who cares if the meter maids aren't nice?"

I do, everyone should! If I treated my customers/clients that way, I'd be out of a job! It doesn't cost anything to be pleasant.

"this sounds like a thankless job"

A lot of people can say that about their job at times. That's life. get used to it.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 29, 2005 2:34:17 PM

Walleroo, I have in fact eaten at Popeyes in 8 different states. So there. The search for great fried chicken and barbecue (something I assure you Montclair is totally lacking in compared to the great meals you find in Memphis and SC, my personal favorite style) goes on unabated as time and travel allows. And to all these folks who complain the meter people don't "play nice," why would you expect them to in a job where drivers of $40-50,000 vehicles routinely insult and attempt to cajole them to get out of relatively minor fines? Someone parking "just for a minute" without feeding the meter always inconveniences others. Someone parking over their allotted time, ditto. In Prague the metro system has undercover inspectors who can arrest and jail you on the spot if you don't have the approximately $40 fine it costs if you ride the subway without paying, and these guys are so famously unpleasant that even tour guides will warn you not to run afoul of them. Consider yourselves lucky we merely have "grumpy" meter maids. And carry change for the meters. In all my life, however, I have truly never once seen anyone leave mid-movie to refill a parking meter.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 29, 2005 3:23:57 PM

I guess there's a side to you I don't know, Cathar--the middle America, James Dean down and out under the neon signs side?

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 29, 2005 5:50:55 PM

I don't know about the James Dean side, walleroo. Frankly, I always identified more with characters from the movie, "The Wild One," and there with Lee Marvin's Chino rather than Brando's Johnny. I even once got to say, at an appropriate moment, "Write my mother, Johnny, and tell her I'm in the can." And I do so love neon signs. How else are you going to tell what beer brands are featured as you drive by a bar?

Posted by: cathar | Apr 29, 2005 7:18:36 PM

Last month I got a ticket while I had breakfast at Raymonds. It was written when I was 4 minites over, I got there when I was 6 minites over. Seems like overzealousness to me in writing tickets. A little grace is appreciated, even if only 5 minites

Posted by: AnneGell | Apr 29, 2005 7:40:29 PM

AnneGell, even with 5 minutes of grace, you still would've gotten a ticket.

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 29, 2005 8:23:32 PM

Or at the very least a warning from the spelling police. (Who indeed should be "overzealous.")

Posted by: cathar | Apr 29, 2005 11:17:22 PM

(A lot of people can say that about their job at times. That's life. get used to it.)

And I would reply... come back to your car on time and get a ticket if you don't...that's life. get used to it.

Posted by: Pam | Apr 30, 2005 11:29:59 AM

I think this needs to be looked at a whole different way....the parking police are scaring off a SIGNIFICANT amount of diners, shoppers, movie goers, etc. The long term consequences are simple, people remember tickets, being towed, and the general major hassle of trying to park....anywhere.

If the powers that be had any brains, they would forgo parking meters for a couple of months, till the new parking deck is done. As it is now, Montclair is the absolute last place in this are I (or most of my friends, many of whom live in Montclair) will go to or shop at. It's just not worth it.

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