Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Free parking

Silly season has started again; after several months of peace and quiet, the primary school opposite my flat is once again open for business which means that twice a day the road is filled with Israeli school mums and dads, dropping off their charges. Each parent makes good use of the horn to jostle for the position which is as close to the school gate as possible so that little Yoni doesn't have to tire himself by walking (G-d forbid). Cars are left running in the middle, block roads and driveways and generally make things miserable for the residents - to the extent that we had a word with the Head at the end of last year.

If you thought that Israelis were bad drivers (I try to avoid generalisations but who's going to argue with that one), they are even worse when it comes to parking. I use the term in a loose sense of the word; as I huff and puffed my way up Jabotinsky St on my bike yesterday, a car coming in the opposite direction stopped in the middle of the street. The driver seemed oblivious to the long stream of traffic which built up behind him as well as to the fact that had he moved forward no more than a car's length he could have pulled into the large, car shaped space next to the kerb and not been cursed by every driver who he inconvenienced.

Driving home recently, the car in front of me screeched to a halt in the middle of the road, blocking my way whilst the driver started a conversation with a group of pedestrians. My honking was answered by one of the women in the group asking me "can't he stop and say hi to his wife?" gesturing to the side of the road I answered that I was very happy for him to do so but that he should pull into the side in order to do it.

Pull into an Israeli supermarket on a Thursday evening and you'll find cars parked on every available piece of tarmac, blocking pavements and generally causing a nuisance; 100 yards away you'll find a choice of empty spaces - the first level of my local emporium's car park barely leaves enough room for a car to fit through the spaces to go down to the second level which is empty and serviced by a lift.

A friend tells the story of a clearly slightly deranged Old Lady, upset at the long line of cars parked on the pavement thus forcing her (not to mention wheelchairs and mothers with baby carriages) into the street. As she went by she stopped to bend the wipers out of shape on each car. She was long gone by the time a policeman arrived who proceeded to ticket each car for parking illegally.

Part of the problem is laziness - why walk further than you have when inconsiderate parking means having fewer steps? Part of it is either due to selfishness or thoughtlessness - stopping in the middle of the road to chat with a friend whilst not giving a crap about those honking behind. And part of it is a problem of enforcement - were the threat of a ticket or being towed felt a little more strongly then antisocial parking would very quickly become a thing of the past.



Liza said...

As a perpetual pedestrian, one of my biggest pet peeves is drivers who park wherever they want with complete disregard for others - especially pedestrians! If parked cars were in my path, I would (if possible without causing permanent damage) change the positions of the mirrors, either folding them all the way in, or moving them just enough to annoy the drivers. Stupid I know, but made me feel better at the time!

Anonymous said...

Tell me about it, took me 5 minutes to get home the other day from the entrance of Gad (about 200 meters!)

Yellow boy

Noa said...

Cool, that was my crazy lady!!!