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Parking Spot Saving: A Time-Honored Lehigh Valley Tradition


By Megan Beste, Community Transition Coordinator

Urban newcomers, especially those of you from warmer climes, if this is your first winter in the Lehigh Valley, you might be wondering what would compel people to place their recycling bins and folding chairs in the parking lane on your street.

It's because in the Lehigh Valley, if someone cleared that space of snow and ice, they probably think they are entitled to park there until the snow melts.

I can see both points of view (POV):

POV 1:

I dug out my car, carefully removed the ice and snow even between the curb and the passenger's side and was late for work because of it. I put my recycling bin there so nobody would park there because obviously, “Dibs.” And when I came home after a long day of work (or the grocery store), you, he who did NOT shovel 5" of snow at dawn, is parked there. Because of your lack of consideration, I have to park up the block, in an inferior space, one that may not have been cleared of ice and snow, maybe one that is not really a whole space at all since there is a huge pile of snow at the end of the block, instead of the space I carefully cleared for myself in front of my house. And I have to carry my groceries through ice and snow to get to my porch, which has a dead Christmas tree, four sleds and seven snow shovels on it.

 

POV 2:

I am looking for a parking space near my doctor's office/hair salon/friend's house and all up and down the street are these folding chairs and recycling bins in spots where cars should go. It's as if the people who live nearby think they own that spot, and want to prevent people from parking on a public street. I don't care whether you cleared the spot - you moved, now I need a place to park and there aren't any spaces, because the open spaces look like an abandoned tailgate party and the snow boulders between each space are taking up half the block. I either have to get out and move your folding chair before I back into the space, or park three blocks away and climb over snow piles to get to my destination.

 

I am fortunate to have a driveway, which is definitely a privilege in a city neighborhood. I do have a hard time finding parking near some friends' houses when it snows, but usually, if I wear appropriate footwear, my options increase. But I know lots of people who face this challenge in the winter months, both at home and at their place of business. The snow hasn’t amounted to much this year, but if and when it does – prepare to see chairs.




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