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POINT OF VIEW


The Getty, Handicapped, Arrogant Recruiters and Red-Light Cameras


BY JOHN VAN HORN T


HE WORLD-FAMOUS GETTY Museum in Los Angeles is free. No cost, zip, nada. If you drive, however, you have to pay to park. It was $10 and has been raised to $15.All the granola


types have come out of the woodwork. You go to Dodger Stadium; you pay $15 to park, plus entry


to the game.You go to theHollywood Bowl, ditto. Staples Center to see the Lakers, the same. So what’s the problem? My guess is that the Getty’s, what, 1,000-space garage is


beginning to fill and they need to entice people to car pool or take the bus, which drops off visitors just across the street.And why can’t people take the bus? It runs fairly regularly fromall parts of the city. People can afford a $20,000 car, gas, oil and insurance, why


shouldn’t they pay to park it? Getty had to build a garage costing millions so people could park. Why should money that could be used to make a better muse- um for everyone go to pay for the folks who decided to drive instead of taking the bus? An LA blogger comment-


I’msorry to report that even the U.S.military has a touch of


arrogance.My guess is that their marketing branch (recruiting) has to be a bit arrogant, but when it comes to parking, they are going too far. Merchants in the Bronx are irate at the fact that important parking spaces are being taken by the recruiting department’s vehicles and the merchants’ customers can’t find places to park. Therewas a similar case a fewyears back – I commented on


it then but can’t find the reference now – where the city actually towed the cars and held them ransom since the government was ignoring the parking tickets on them. In this case, the local parking enforcement folks are simply


not ticketing the cars with government plates. Perhaps they feel it’s futile. My solution? Have the recruitment NCOs pay the parking


tickets out of their own pockets. My guess is that the problem would go away instantly.


The issue, it seems tome, is


ing on the price hike says he’s going to go to the museum less now because of the new pricing. I would love to see where he is going instead. Perhaps to theWalt Disney Concert Hall or per- haps to Disneyland? Howmuch will he pay to park there and not complain about the entry price? Just asking…


*** Columbia, SC, is attacking handicapped-parking cheaters


with a new law.The idea is that handicapped permits would have to have the person’s picture on them.That’s a start.The lawalso is listing the reasons doctors can use to issue the permit in the first place.They are also, I think, ensuring that the doctor’s names can be cross-checked to ensure they actually signed the application. Hey, it’s a good start. This has always been a problem for me. In most cases, peo-


plewith disabilities park for a reduced rate or for free.Thismakes the permit placards as good as gold. I’mnot surewhy they should be parking for free.Most disabled people I know need the wider spaces near the entrance for “access,” not because they are free. If the disabled paid for parking like everyone else, there


would be no traffic in handicapped permits. Those truly needy, whether disabled or not, should have anotherway to avoid paying for parking, if that’s to be the policy. The handicapped permit should not be it.


6 JUNE 2009 • PARKING TODAY • www.parkingtoday.com


Most disabled people I know need the wider spaces near the entrance for “access,” not because they are free.


not the parking concerns, which are bad enough, but the fact that these soldiers and sailors simply think they are above the rules set for the rest of us. Time for a lit- tle humble pie.


*** Holman Jenkins, writing in


TheWall Street Journal, has one of the best arguments against


red-light cameras I have ever read. In essence, he says that studies have shown that only about


8%of all traffic accidents are due to running red lights or speed- ing. The rest (taking out drinking) are due to inattention on the part of the driver. Jenkins’ point is that these suckers are there to enable the


cities to collect revenue, not tomake the streets safer. His point ismade by this: It seems that if you extend the yel-


low light one or two seconds, the vastmajority of red-light viola- tions go away. It’s the fact that yellows are set to the state-man- datedminimum(three seconds) that catches folks. If you had just a bitmore time either to go through the light or to stop, the prob- lemgoes away. Jenkins’ proof? Cities where cameras are installed have


reduced the yellow to three seconds because they know more people will be caught. As for the big problem at intersections – the “T bone” acci-


dents where people are maimed or killed – I’m not certain that red-light cameras really stop that. People running red lights at 50 miles an hour are going to do it – ticket, camera, or fine. It also


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