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A Minute with Mike: The difference between zero & "O" = $45 in Detroit

Apr 8, 2016

Credit Vic Reyes

 

Although Old Man Winter is still huffing some gray skies and cold air at us, for many of us Michiganeers this week marks the official start of summer.

Why?

(sound of bat cracking and crowd)

That’s right, the start of the Detroit Tigers 2016 season.  I’m willing to bet,most of you might make at least one annual pilgrimage to a Tigers’ game. And given that this state is known for its motor vehicles, you’ll need to find a place to park.

Which leads me to my warning: Unlike baseball, the rule book for street parking in Detroit isn’t quite clear.

As a Detroiter since 2004, I can tell you parking on the streets is currently more of a disaster than a bat flying into the third row on Seniors day.

There are no longer any marked parking spaces. Yup, that’s right: They’ve been changed to barely-defined metered “zones," supposedly for convenience and cost-cutting. But in reality, it's more of “Mad Max” park- anywhere bench clearing brawl.

Worse yet, when parking on Detroit streets, you must give up your 5th Amendment right to self-incrimination.

"What?!!!?" you ask. Well, when parking in metered “zones” (again, not obviously defined spaces) you are required to type in your license plate into a computer kiosk. This conveniently takes anywhere from 2-10 minutes (supposedly much faster than dropping a coin into meter). And once your license plate is in the system, your vehicle can immediately be booted or towed if you have any past unpaid tickets.

And, if you’re like me and have a zero or an “O” in your license plate… just don’t try. Ask a friend to “pinch drive” for you. No reason to tempt fate that the parking patrol officer will interpret a zero or capital “O” in your favor.

Be forewarned, if you do get a parking ticket, it is a minimum $45. That's $3 more than where the Yankees and Mets plays, and $35 more than in pseudo-socialist Ann Arbor.

To afford those ticket prices, you’d have to be paid like an actual Tiger. And  I’m talking Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander money, not Nick CastellanZEROs.

Or is it Castellanos? Hard to say with zeros and O’s looking so similar. Maybe we should ask Detroit meter readers how they say it.