Sideways sidewalk laws

Angela Cesere

I was only an Ann Arbor driver for less than a month when I got my first parking ticket. For my family, it was a source of pride and a little payback – each of my parents already had Ann Arbor violations, and they don’t even live here. But, unlike my mom, I didn’t earn my ticket parking in an ambiguous “no parking” zone next to Zingerman’s: I parked in my own driveway.

Student housing is rough enough without the added stress of sharing a driveway with everyone in your house and the house next door. After moving an average of two cars a day just to get to my car, I’m more than qualified to be a valet if this newspaper thing doesn’t work out. However, there are few options when faced with an unfamiliar car in your spot and no available street parking.

On this particular day, I decided that I could either call a (surely over-worked) tow truck or wait it out and find the driver. I opted for the (surely under-used) good neighbor approach, pulling my car as far into the driveway as I could. I still obscured most of the sidewalk anyway.

Unfortunately, when my space opened up, I discovered that Ann Arbor had noticed my car 15 minutes too soon. It’s my sidewalk when it’s covered with snow, but it’s the city’s sidewalk when it’s covered with my car.

I understand the city’s desire to keep the sidewalks clear and safe, but as I lamented the demise of my spotless record, I couldn’t help but notice the ample walking space behind my bumper. Was it really necessary to penalize a car half-parked in an overcrowded student driveway on a seldom-traveled street on a Tuesday afternoon? I mean, I even drive a Volvo sedan; it doesn’t get much more unassuming than that.

We can hardly expect a kinder, gentler parking patrol, nor can we blame the city for its safety laws. Hence, the solution seems simple, albeit cliché: Practice common courtesy. If you won’t block my parking spot, then I won’t tow your car. Now that’s student solidarity.

Emmarie Huetteman

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