It was only a week ago I was praising the City of Detroit for its improvements and parking system and three days ago when I received my first infamous $45 Detroit parking ticket.

Yes, for all of my efforts to avoid that dreaded envelop I came back to my car Friday to find one. Since it was one of the rare occasions I wasn’t thrilled to be in Midtown in the first place it was an extra slap in the face.

I used the meter, paid for parking, rushed to make sure I returned well before time expired but no good. Turns out my diligent effort to park some where ‘safe’ (i.e. Danny’s work, where I park most often and without problems), even though it was a mile away from where I needed to be, was a bad idea because those couple hours I was gone were the exact hours there is no parking.

I had no idea that was the case and went straight to the Parking Department to protest this ticket and at least settle it in the interim. I was shocked and appalled to learn that even if you attempt to pay within 30 minutes of the ticket being issued you still have to pay the full price. I didn’t yell at anyone but I was quite emotional on my walk back to my car (where I once again had to pay for parking).

For all my efforts to do the right thing and still be screwed by the city was a bitter pill to swallow. Not to mention, I HATE to get in trouble – I’m Type A with perfectionist tendencies and it is well outside my comfort zone to get a citation of any kind. Consequently, I must recognize the nice gentleman at security who came out to my car to check on me and the equally kind meter woman who explained that I didn’t get a ticket for not paying for a meter but for parking during a no standing time. Neither of their efforts helped me feel better but I appreciated them nevertheless.

Suffice it to say Detroit is on my list. I accept responsibility for parking in a wrong spot but $45 is extortion. We could have gone to the DSO, dinner, a Tigers game, to the Garden Bowl and countless other places for that price. It’s well known that Detroit uses parking to raise money and I’m not thrilled to be its latest victim.

For the time being I’m sticking to the suburbs where I can at the very least park without fear. I need some time to heal these wounds and recoup the $45 that otherwise would have been spent to stimulate the economy.

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