City of Boulder Mandates Emissions
Yes, in a city where bikes are revered above cars, where the citizens voted to tax themselves for carbon emissions, where the city government provides dirt cheap bus passes to many of its citizens, and where the people glorify organic food, it turns out that I am breaking the law by not driving my car enough.
According to section 7-6-20:
- No vehicle shall be parked upon any street for more than seventy-two hours without being moved or for the principal purpose of storage for more than seventy-two hours.
- Proof that the vehicle's odometer shows movement of no more than two-tenths of a mile during a period of at least seventy-two hours shall constitute prima facie evidence of violation of this section.
I'm fairly certain that the setbacks required by the city planning department would not allow a two-car garage to be built on our property. That means that one of the two cars in our family has to be parked on the street.
So, every time I bike to a meeting, every time I walk to the rec center, every time I take the bus downtown, every time I telecommute, I am compounding my crime. The penalty for this crime is a fine of $15. And the worst part is that there is a new infraction every two hours after the first one.
So let's see. If I leave my car parked for four days, the fines could be as high as $195. The last time I drove my car was last Tuesday, so I'm up to about $750 already. Over the winter when they don't plow our street and it turns into a skating rink, I've been known to leave my car for six weeks at a time. That adds up to a maximum fine of $7,575. Just because I'd rather crash walking than driving.
So, what are my choices? We could sell the second car, since gosh we could probably live with just one. Of course, it does happen reasonably often that we both need to drive somewhere. Or, I could put the car in a commercial garage ... and then walk or bike to the garage when I need to use the car. I could just give the city my credit card number, and tell them to fine away.
I guess my favorite idea is to picture myself as a modern-day Thoreau. I'm holed up in the city jail because of the parking fines that are piling high, and of course I refuse to pay them on principle. While in jail, I'd write a book about the simple life I live in Boulder in pure harmony with naturopaths, adventure racers, and tree huggers. And so would I build my credentials as the great American blogger and tax resister.
So, come and get me, Boulder parking enforcement office Rita. I have everything I need already packed, and it all fits very nicely into a single soapbox.
They do have wireless Internet access in the jail, don't they?