Tyler’s Two Cents: Thoughts from Behind the Bar is a weekly lifestyle column, written by Tyler Bernadyn, that will appear every Tuesday on What’sUpNewp this summer.
Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes for these editorials. Today’s comes in the form of a 3×6” piece of lime green paper with the words “parking violation” as the header. Now that summertime is in full swing here in Newport, RI, meter maids are out in full force. Before I go into a jest-filled rant about these parking tickets, I understand that these people are simply doing their job and parking ordinances are meant to be followed. But who am I kidding? I’m going to say what we are all thinking…
I rarely drive my car around town in the summer because of the crazy amounts of traffic and the improbability that I’ll actually find a place to park downtown without paying for a lot. When I do find a place to park on-street, I know that I’ll most likely get a ticket, for one reason or another, because Newport seemingly has the most efficient, die-hard, cut-throat meter maids in the country. Now I’ve seen some efficient teams throughout my lifetime. I’ve been fortunate to know and work with people who are absolutely incredible at their jobs. As amazing as they may be, they do not compare to the meter maids patrolling the streets of Newport. Meter just run out of money? BOOM, ticket. Park in a 3 hour parking area for 3 hours and 2 minutes? BOOM, ticket. Is the nose of your vehicle sticking out slightly past the ‘no parking from here to curb sign’? BOOM, ticket. These mercenaries rack up more violations and revenue for the city of Newport than I could possibly imagine.
Just last week, I managed to tack on two tickets for my City of Newport parking tab. One was justified, although frustrating nonetheless. The other was on a scooter of mine. You read that correctly; one of my SCOOTERS was ticketed. I’ve driven scooters around Newport for years and never once did I consider that it could be ticketed. I park them respectfully, usually with other scooters when I drive downtown and make sure they are not blocking any egresses or fire lanes. After speaking with some meter maids around town, I learned that the officer in question (although I won’t mention names) has a “vendetta” against scooters and hates two-wheeled motor vehicles. Those words are verbatim from his/her colleagues. Imagine that? Going out of your way to ticket a scooter…
I don’t want to give these employees any more grief than they already have, trust me. Signing up for a job where you will be one of the most hated employees in the City of Newport is not for the faint of heart. When I yell ‘last call’ at the bar on Saturday night, people look at me like I’ve just kicked their puppy down the stairs. I can’t imagine the outrage the meter maids must deal with on a daily basis…
I’ve seen people scream at meter maids, throw tickets at them and be downright rude. Please consider the fact that this is how they earn a living and be respectful when applicable. However, I plead to you meter maids, guardians of parking, to be more compassionate to locals and residents. Place yourself in our shoes and be a bit more understanding when you see that City of Newport parking sticker emblazoned on our windshield. You too must have parked illegally at some point or felt the anguish that follows a ticket after an expired meter. Jersey plates and out-of-staters are way more fun to ticket anyways.
Tyler Bernadyn is a local hospitality professional, bartending at Midtown Oyster Bar Wednesday through Sunday nights on the Burgee Bar and at Caleb&Broad on Monday nights for their award winning $10 entree dinner special.
Tyler is a graduate of Providence College and a true Rhode Islander, born and bred.
Email him at TylerBernadyn@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram at @tylerbernadyn.
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