Posts Tagged 'Buckhead'

Parking hospitality

Expired metersWhile meeting a friend for a coffee at the hipster Buckhead spot Sip, I realized that the 45 minutes I had paid for on the parking meter had expired. I hustled over to my car, ready with an explanation about why I was late, expecting to find the traffic cop with a ticket at the ready.

But I returned to find an expired meter, with a ticketless car. My time was up, but nobody cared.

I never owned a car in London, in part because I was intimidated by the parking police. They circled parked cars like sharks, with tickets at the ready, so as soon as the meter time was up, they pounced.

I saw drivers sprinting towards them, begging, sometimes weeping, with the cop, but almost never succeeding in avoiding the ticket.

And that ticket generally cost more than 50 pounds. My coffee friend told me that if I had gotten a ticket, I could expect to pay about twelve dollars.

In terms of parking, Atlanta really is the land of the free.

We don’t belong here

Duck pondDuring a family photo session on Saturday alongside a peaceful duck pond in Buckhead, we were informed by a zealous community volunteer that we didn’t belong there.

She explained that non-residents taking photos need to contribute to the upkeep of the park. She suggested we give $75 (!) in exchange for using the park as a backdrop in our photos.

Many parks in Atlanta belong only to residents. We discovered this during our house hunt. When we took the kids to a playground in a Buckhead neighborhood, a friend cautioned that cops might stop us, since we didn’t live there, and hence, weren’t supposed to be there.

Luckily, our seven month old and two year old enjoyed the playground, and avoided arrest. But we were on our guard.

I suppose if the residents have to pay for the upkeep of their parks, they are reluctant to share the wealth.

Those fees must be high, because many residents seem to take an almost fiendish glee in ejecting visitors. When we parked alongside this duck pond, which was mysteriously empty despite Saturday’s beautiful weather, a man walked by us and said: “You’re new.”

It was not a statement of welcome.

Overall, people are very friendly here. But they do like enforcing rules.