Commentary: Street-side Window, Please

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, November 30, 2007

The pay and display parking machines that have popped up all over downtown Sacramento had me confused.  I get the pay part. Drop in your quarters or slide the credit card. Press the add time button, then print receipt.

But what do you do with the receipt that proves you paid and shows when time has expired. The sign on the machine says tape receipt to window. But which window, the front, the back the side facing the street, or the side facing the curb.

I checked out cars parked around me recently and  found that the vast majority of parkers hadn’t bothered to tape their receipts to any window. They set them face up on their dash boards instead. Finally I asked a meter maid – excuse me a parking enforcement officer – He said It didn’t matter where I placed the sticker, street side window, curbside, windshield or dash. Just make sure it’s visible.

When I related all this in a recent piece for the Sacramento Bee I got an irritated email from city parking officials. It said while officers are trained to look all around the car before issuing citations, they’d prefer parkers to place their receipt on the side window facing the street. I’m told new pay machines being installed throughout midtown have instructions now that make that clear.  Good.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.