A River Market tale | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A River Market tale

Posted By on Sun, Sep 9, 2007 at 6:40 AM

Maybe the city really is is getting tough on crime in the River Market neighborhood after the the highly publicized recent car jackings. One thing is for sure: they are getting tough on parking tickets in the same area where the carjackings occurred. It's all about maintaining order. Let somebody park outside a designated space and the next thing you know, they'll be carjacking somebody.

Read a commuter's sad story about the aggressive parking cops on the jump.


Weekday commuters to the Rivermarket area and weekend Farmers Market fans have been in for nasty surprises lately finding $30 parking tickets on their autos after parking in places other than designated parking spots in the public lots under the I-30 bridge.

For who knows how long, regulars have parked at the curbs at the ends of rows, in those random white-striped zones (perfectly park-able areas) and in nooks and crannys under the bridge supports. There's also the current weekday influx of construction workers working on the library project needing parking in the area. It's dog eat dog when it comes to sweet free public parking, and when folks get creative, it's hard to blame them. Heck, just about any loose area has been fair game, and most motorists are courteous enough not park somewhere that would  impede others from exiting or entering.

Even Saturday morning, as stroller-and-dog-equipped families spilled out of minivans under the bridge to hit the Farmers Market, a Little Rock policeman was busy planting little yellow tickets under the wiper blade of a beat-up farm trucked at the curb on the end of a row. Tickets were everywhere.

"We gave them three days," he said when I questioned, why now? He gestured towards brand-new, non-descript, very miss-able signs at the entrance to the lot warning folks about using designated spaces only. Signs a regular commuter would never notice as they turn into the lot, as they have done for months or years on end.

Why now? Maybe it's the increased attention to the lot after the recent spread of hysteria. Maybe the ticket revenues are needed to pay for the new security lights. Either way, City of Little Rock, here are a few suggestions that would have more appropriate:

-How about three days of written warnings instead of $30 tickets? Man, is traffic court gonna be fun.

-How about visibly obvious (more temporary or lightweight) signs over the "no-no" areas? Better placement and design of the new signs would have helped.

-And finally, how about more free public parking downtown? There's a huge number of people who can't or prefer not to pay monthly deck fees, or would rather walk several blocks. (We know it's not really free parking anyway, because visits to the car wash to get rid of pigeon poop really add up.) The city wants us to work and play downtown, and more public parking would support that.

Shock and awe tactics with ticket books don't.

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