by Benn Ray
With this most recent snowfall sort of catching many of us by surprise, I feel it’s my civic duty to once again remind us of what I like to call The Unofficial Snowtime Rules.1. Shovel Your Walk. And if the house/building next to you is empty, shovel that walk too. If everyone did this, most of us would have no trouble as pedestrians walking from point A to points B, C. or D. If, for some reason, you are incapable of shoveling your walk and your neighbors don’t like you enough to help you out, then employ any one of the dozens of amateur entrepreneurs who travel door to door with shovels looking for things in need of shoveling.
2. You may only reserve a parking space if you dug it out yourself. If someone else dug out that space, you can’t go putting your yard chairs out to reserve it. You didn’t earn that space, so that is what is known as a “Free Space”. I like to make a mental inventory of who shovels what spaces on my block and if I see someone trying to claim a space they didn’t clear themselves, I remove their placeholders and return it to “Free Space” status.
Sorry folks, I don’t make these rules (okay, actually, I did make these rules).
3. If your vehicle is going to be out of that space for more than 12 hours, you can’t reserve it. Sorry, these are public city streets we’re talking about here and other people are in need of parking too. You can’t expect a perfectly good parking space to sit dormant for half a day while you’re off gallivanting about town.
In fact, if you want to be really cool, you can leave a note on the chairs saying something along the lines of “You can use this space, but please vacate by 5PM.” That way your space claim isn’t interfering with the normal course of daytime business in the neighborhood.Also, when reserving your own private parking space in a snowstorm – be creative. I've seen lamps, I've seen recliners, I even recently saw a dining room table complete with place settings. Nicely done! Perhaps we should start a committee and hand out awards for the most creative parking space reservation? You know, sort of like Charles Village does with façade painting of the old houses over there, only instead of home rennovations, we’d be encouraging people making private claims to public spaces because they spent a few minutes digging themselves out of a weather event.
4. Be aware of any city changes in policy. I know both the Hampden Community Council and the Hampden Village Merchants Association helped spread the word about the change in garbage and recycling pickup since the alleys were inaccessible for trash trucks during the December snow storm. So check with our local community organizations.
And oh yeah, I almost forgot – this is Maryland – so when you hear there’s even a hint of snow on the way, be sure to run to the closest grocery market and buy up more milk, eggs, bread and toilet paper than you could possibly use in 3 days (that way there’s less for other more cynical folks who don’t freak out over snow events. It’ll teach them to panic just like any good Marylander should).