Parking Violated: Death by a Thousand Papercuts

ticket in window

Think twice before you drive into downtown Detroit. It’s not that you’ll be carjacked or get lost on our bewildering road network, but you will get ripped off if you deign to park here. Under Emergency Manager Kevin Orr’s recent ordinance, you will be forced to pay $45 for the offense of an expired parking meter.[1] In one fell swoop, Orr increased fines for all parking violations and removed the 10-day reduced rate window. The outcome is penalty hikes of up to 450 percent.

Let’s put that into context. For someone making minimum wage (currently $7.40/hr in Michigan)[2], it would take a full day of work just to pay off this parking ticket. Remember that Detroit is the city where people are choosing between their water bills (otherwise it’ll get shut off), their property taxes (otherwise the city will take your house) or mortgage payments (otherwise the bank will take your house). The fine is that much more excessive for the reported 23 percent of Detroiters who are unemployed (that’s 6 points higher than the next-worst city on the list)[3]. And even if you are a lucky soul with a decent income, just imagine driving up to one of the few remaining downtown shops to purchase a $3 coffee, a $10 lunch or a $15 t-shirt and then facing a $45 parking ticket when you return to your car. You aren’t likely to take that risk again- better to shop at the mall or order online. Continue reading “Parking Violated: Death by a Thousand Papercuts”