Front Street zone signed inadequately

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2003

On Aug. 4, while attending to a matter at City Hall, I found myself to have been ticketed $100 in one of the new loading-parking zones.

In response to my questioning the adequacy of the parking-loading sign, a nearby policeman assured me that it met "prescribed standards."

I returned to City Hall to inquire into the matter. I also suggest to the same municipal official that maybe in this kind of a mixed loading-parking zone it be appropriate to mark the now-unmarked curb with alternate yellow-blank segments.

This would draw drivers' attention to properly look for the properly installed signs, above (just as solid yellow curbs now do in permanent loading zones).

Next day, I was informed by City Hall:

"Our city manager and the Committee of the Whole discussed last night the issue of the loading zones. It seems that JPD has been issuing warning citations for two weeks and there has been quite a bit of publicity about the parking restrictions.

"If you photograph the sign and where you parked - so you can show the relationship between the two - and contest the ticket; (and) if the signage isn't adequate, you likely will prevail."

At issue is not whether there had been "quite a bit of publicity" as for example in the Juneau Empire of June 8, 22 and 24, plus over local radio.

At issue is whether the new loading-parking zones are adequately signed, as such, so that law-abiding, conscientious drivers receive proper information.

(Interestingly, while I was re-photographing the scene on Aug. 7, an owner-employee of the same business in front of which I had received my $100 ticket, received one also, in the exact same inadequately marked zone.)

Also, there is nothing in national or state law that requires a driver to be aware that local news media have announced changes in driving-parking ordinances. That function is up to properly installed, easily visible signs.

It is the task of CBJ, not that of individuals contesting or "prevailing" in our overworked court system to correct unsound city ordinances.

When I was a child, my parents and teachers impressed on me that America's government is the servant of the people (not vice versa as in most nations).

Paraphrasing William Shakespeare:

"To park or not to park," is not the question.

"To adequately mark loading zones," definitely is.

Michael J. Kirk


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