Picking up where the last post of this series left off, here’s another head-scratcher in the McIntire District. To refresh, McIntire Privilege is the thesis that residents of the McIntire District of Salem gain benefits to the detriment other neighborhoods in Salem, without even being conscious of received benefits.
On Essex St near the Salem Public Library underneath the futile Quiet zone signs are signs demarcating resident parking only. This isn’t odd, as useless resident parking zones are all over Salem. What is odd but are the inexplicable restrictive hours of 7 am to 9:30 am. Hard to see, as the signs have been up so long the lettering is faded.
No clue why these hours. There’s no commuter drop-off or school or business in the resident parking zone that could possible justify it. Those hours would be when residents are leaving for work or appointments and so opening parking spaces, not arriving from work or appointments and so looking for parking spaces. Makes no sense, but forget it Jake, this is the McIntire District. Worse, the parking signs affect the Salem Public Library and the Grace Episcopal Church down Essex St, as they discourage patrons of those institutions from visiting.
More seriously, this one cannot be pinned solely on the McIntire District, as senseless resident parking zones proliferate all over Salem. More then senseless, they are actually inimical to neighborhood amity. As they are unenforceable, since police have better things to do than cruise sidewalks looking at parking stickers, the only enforcement is when a neighbor calls police on another sticker-less neighbor, The inevitable internecine conflicts can only tear neighborhoods apart. The prudent resident never makes the phone call, and the parking problem that may have initiated implementation of a resident parking zone festers.
You would think that resident parking zones are established after careful study of number of spaces, number of registered vehicles, proximity of public parking, and the like, but you would be wrong. Residents who want a parking zone on their streets need only to gather a sufficient number of signatures on a petition, the petition gets affirmed by the City Council, and voila, resident parking signs go up on poles. Nor is there any systematic review of when the perceived need for restricted parking should be relinquished. Once established, a resident parking zone is permanent.
One day, hopefully, the Salem City Council will establish a systematic review of all parking zones and eliminate the worst violators of public trust. Or better yet, scrap all resident zones and re-establish some only after fair and careful study. But until then, all residents need to live with this evil, whether they drive or not.