The (Unwelcome?) Streets of Coraopolis

Streets15108

For those unfamiliar, it’s pronounced “Cor-ee-OP-oh-lis”.

December 31, 2013, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Coraopolis man ignored $2 parking tickets, jailed 15 days.

The whole story is interesting and a good lesson for all concerned, especially the young man whose unfortunate actions (or lack thereof) resulted in an unexpected turn of events for him.

One thing that the news story didn’t cover was why the borough seeks to charge residents with limited or non-existent off-street parking to park on the street, either through meters or monthly permits.

My impression is that parking in downtown “Cory” is not so much in demand as to warrant such rigorous enforcement. Perhaps I’m wrong, or there are other problems or priorities.

The borough’s 2014 budget, published on their website, lists a total of $53,000 in anticipated revenue from parking meters, the leasing of spaces, and parking fines. This comprises just 1.2 percent of the borough’s $4.5 Million budget.

This begs the question – was all of the effort undertaken to prosecute Patrick LaRocca for his overdue parking tickets really worth it, especially when considering that it likely cost more to incarcerate him than any revenue for the borough that could have been realized?

If it doesn’t pay much, why do it? I have some ideas, but I need time to learn more.

In the meantime, this issue caused me to wax poetic in my head for the first several hours of the new year.

Apologies to Bruce Springsteen.

I was cold and tired, hadn’t bathed for days,

on a bed of metal in the county clink.

It’s hard to believe this is what can happen

when you don’t pay your fines for parking

on the streets of Coraopolis…

Got my very own ride but no place to put it –

there are parking meters in front of our house.

Got some tickets, didn’t pay them, so they picked me up.

Told me to pay a grand or go to the big house

from the streets of Coraopolis…

Two weeks later, what did I learn?

The end doesn’t justify the means.

Know your rights AND your responsibilities.

Justice and government isn’t always what it seems.

Looking around, I just have to wonder –

How great a place is this to live, shop, or play?

Unless you’ve got a place to park for free,

you might be better off just staying away

from the streets of Coraopolis…

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014.

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