I think that may not be so any longer.
I've been taking home a lot less money the past few months (the recession has hit home, hopefully not for much longer), but things are tough all over, and hey, no earthquakes here (yet)!, so I've not been whining about it too much, I've mostly just been pinching every penny twice -- once when I get it, and again when I spend it. This weekly coffee out has been retained, and sometimes even a dinner, while many lunches have become hummus & pita, instead of pricier alternatives.
That penny pinching has included trying to use one of the few remaining un-metered and non-resident-only spaces around Davis Square whenever possible. Tonight, I thought I'd scored one such. Business-permit-only spaces, historically so through 6pm. I couldn't remember for sure when the restriction ended, so I double-checked the signs which had been stickered with new effective hours. New hours, 8 to 3:30? huh... look at another sign, yep, 3:30, that's what they say... that seemed odd, but OK, maybe there was a small bit of sanity in the new parking regs.
No. Not 8am to 3:30pm. 8am to 3:30*am*. Explains why 7 of these spaces were empty when I pulled in. (None were empty when I left. And every windshield I saw also had a ticket on it. I do wonder why they didn't just make these spaces restricted 24 hours a day -- the leftover 4.5 hours aren't really enough to be useful for anything.)
And the fine for this violation? $50. Not for blocking a crosswalk. Not for violating an HP spot. For parking in a "business permit only" spot. For a first offense. I dread to think what they'll charge for a second.
OK, Somerville, you win. I wanted to keep patronizing the businesses I'd come to like, in the areas I'd prefer to live, but I cannot afford this kind of hit, not even once in a very rare while when I mis-read a sign. It's time to find a new area, which *wants* visitors to patronize its businesses. Like Davis Square, and Somerville in general, used to be. And no, the T is not a viable option, given where I live and work.
(Appeal, you say? Yes, I'll probably do that, but have I told you about the *last* Somerville ticket I appealed? They tried to ding me for being parked at 12:35am (according to the computerized timestamp on the ticket) in a spot that became restricted 25 minutes later, at 1am, by which time I had collected the ticket and moved on, and that appeal was of course granted -- through a charming letter that scolded me and told me not to repeat the violation I hadn't committed in the first place. To put it mildly, I have slim hope of finding actual reason and grace in the Somerville parking offices. And yes, I may be influencing that in an unfortunate manner with this post. C'est la vie. Official wrongheadedness should be publicly protested until it changes.)