From those wonderful folks who gave you Verified Response: Verified Parking?

For years, parking - or the lack of it - has been the Number 1 hot-button issue around Lower Greenville. The scumbars don't have enough of it (and the City says we are several hundred spaces short anyway), so their patrons parked (and whizzed) on neighborhood streets.

The residents fought back with No Parking zones and Resident Only Parking restrictions. The patrons park farther out in the neighborhood (say, Addison?) or take a chance parking illegally. The residents could usually count on the Dallas Police Department to keep the battle at an even level, ticketing and towing as much as they could.

But according to a new DPD policy issued September 28, all calls to 911 for illegally parked vehicles (except those blocking driveways) from anywhere in Dallas are now directed to the 311 Action Center. From there, the calls are routed to Parking Enforcement (or maybe the DPD substation). Eventually, someone will go out and look at the problem. Tomorrow. Maybe.

Doesn't anyone remember that Parking Enforcement is understaffed, unarmed, and scared of the dark???

We have a cute name for this policy - Verified Parking.

The DPD believes that dealing with illegally parked vehicles is a waste of manpower, resources and time. So instead of being a low priority, illegal parking is now considered a non-issue.

The calls won't even show up on those tiny little computer terminals inside the squad cars. The only way an officer will issue a ticket is if he has absolutely nothing else to do, gets flagged down by a resident (as happened last weekend on Oram Street), or if the area supervisor has a few officers he can spare to write tickets.

It's no secret that DPD has been asking us to phone it in for years. They will not respond in person when you report finding your house or vehicle has been entered illegally, unless it's a really big loss or there's lots of blood and guts for the CSI guys to play with. Call 911 and two hours later someone calls you back to get a list of the missing items and give you an Incident Number for your insurance company.

One North Dallas CrimeWatch member tells BD -

A resident here recently called DPD to report one of her party guest's cars had been stolen (UUMV in CopSpeak). DPD said they were too busy to deal with that, and they had no plans to send an officer to investigate.

I guess they wanted her to mail it in via postcard?

To that, she inquired (not exactly the word) what exactly they would deem important enough to send someone - Rape? Murder?

1900 Hope Street - all the cars in this picture are in a No Parking zone. The signs were removed during the summer and never replaced, despite promises by city staff.

BD and other neighbors found out about this new policy last weekend when calling in cars parked in the Resident Parking zones on both Oram and Hope Streets (which intersect each other). On Friday night, cars were not ticketed until 1:00 am; on Saturday night, a neighbor was forced to flag down an officer heading to the DPD command post on Oram @ Greenville. He eventually towed a few cars away.

The DPD sets up their command post every weekend at Greenville and Oram, next to the Whisky Bar. We wonder why the officers can't stop gawking at the girls walking down Greenville Avenue long enough to walk less than 500 feet back behind the squad cars and issue a few parking tickets to cars parked on Oram or Hope Streets.

BD also wonders why the City just can't figure out how to re-install the No Parking signs on the west side of Hope Street (promised for months) or replace the broken Resident Only Parking signs on the east side of the street.

Bill Dickerson, who has a house adjacent to a Resident Only Parking and No Parking zones, called the City's Public Works & Transportation department to ask if they knew about the policy. According to Bill, the answer was, Who came up with this dumb idea?

PWT was never contacted by DPD to get their views on this policy. In their opinion, parking restrictions are put in for a specific reason - legal, safety, by petition, etc - and the DPD cannot just decide to ignore the signs and not issue tickets.

The PWT rep compared Resident Only Parking to a contract between the City and the residents on a street. After submitting a petition and $50,  the City conducts an ROP survey; if the ROP requirements are achieved, the residents pay $42 for each sign (usually five per street). Anyone parking on that street without an ROP hangtag during the specified hours is supposed to be ticketed and towed.

DPD Chief David Kunkle has called BD to assure him that his department was not ignoring the problem, but was trying to come up with a way to balance the department's priorities properly.

He promised to contact Central DPD Division Chief Brian Harvey to make sure that streets in our little corner of the world were given extra attention by the nearly one dozen officers assigned to Lower Greenville each weekend evening (These are not exact quotes - BD was stringing CAT5 wire when the Chief called and did not take notes).

A source at Dallas Fire / Rescue told BD they were concerned about their ability to move emergency equipment. Many streets in the Lower Greenville area are so narrow that fire trucks could not traverse the street if cars were parked on both sides. So No Parking on one-side restrictions cover many of the smaller streets in the area. And we had to fight to get those signs on our end of Greenville, even though they had been in use on the northern end of the strip for years.

How would you like to be the one whose house burns down because a bunch of bar patrons were blocking your street?

No? I did not think you wanted to offer your house in sacrifice so some drunk could party on Lower Greenville.

BD and others have submitted Open Records Requests for copies of the new policy and any of the research that went into making what can only be viewed as a not-so-smart decision. That information will be posted as soon as we get it.

A warning to anyone who thinks they now have a free parking pass for Lower Greenville. If you look at this issue like a giant roll of the dice, then realize you stand the chance of losing big time.

Last weekend, at least five vehicles were towed by 2 am. Do you want to take a chance that you won't be towed next weekend? The City charges nearly $200 for a towing, plus you better have valid insurance in force before you pick your car up.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets