Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spot-saving: A time-honored Lehigh Valley tradition

Transplants, especially those of you from warmer climes, if this is your first winter in the Lehigh Valley, you might be wondering why all the recycling bins and folding chairs are sitting 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 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 I got 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 in MY SPACE. 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 nice space I 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 (and risk you keying my car), or park three blocks away and climb over snow piles to get to my destination.

This blogger is 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 daily, both at home and at their place of business. One PA township has banned the practice of saving spaces. Local blogger "Ugly Easton" weighs in. What do you think?
PS - Check out Chicago's solution to "space saving" chairs - a citizen's awareness campaign!

"It's long been a Chicago tradition that if you clear your parking spot of snow,
you can save it with chairs or other sundry items. It's also long been a Chicago
tradition that people here are nice to each other. It’s time the second tradition trumps the first. By ordering Chair-Free Chicago signs, you can declare the front of your building, or your block, or your whole neighborhood a Chair-Free Zone. A Chair-Free Zone is a place where neighbors act like neighbors. A place where we all hope our shoveled-out parking space is available when we return, but we aren’t selfish enough to try and save the spot."


  1. hey nice write up! coincidence that I posted about the same subject this morning on Ugly Easton? (I posted about it last year too) howabout a linkback?
    btw, thanks for the chicago sign. I think I'll appropriate it for my block!

  2. No saving unless you've got a willing roommate or family member to sit in that folding chair for you while you're out! :)

  3. Great minds think alike! Nice job.

  4. Thanks for sharing that, because I wasn't sure why I was seeing so much stuff that I thought was junk on the streets.

  5. went reading more about the chair free chicago thing; I thought it was just a LV thing :)
    I gre up in LI, and I NEVER saw this, nor would I care to think of the consequences if someone TRIED it!
    btw, thanks for the link :)