Dr. Know: Parking Without Meters, Defunct Signage, and Dangerous Merging

The good doctor holds forth on troubling issues, including how those meter-less parking spots work, when the Cincinnati Gardens sign will come down, and getting onto I-471.

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

I’m happy that I can now extend my downtown parking time with an app, and not have to walk back to a meter. But what about the places with no meter anymore—just a nearby kiosk that prints out a tag? How do I extend the time on those? And how can cops know my tag is updated? —APPED OUT

Dear Apped:
First, the Doctor reminds everyone: Reclaim your valuable phone space and delete all 83 pictures of parking meters. While you’re at it, do you really need all those shots of meals, cats, and blurry bar buddies?

As to your question: If you should find yourself parked at a lonely pole—atop which a meter once enjoyed the pride of employment before its job was trampled by the heartless march of technology—the Cincy EZ Park app can extend your parking time at the nearby kiosk. Just like a meter, the kiosk displays an identifying zone number, which you enter into the app when making your first payment. You can later add time to your “session” in either situation.

Because nearby cars all use the same number, you may fear that your electronic obedience might not be accurately noted when your car’s tag is examined by Lovely Rita (look her up, kids). But relax: Enforcement cops know who’s been good or bad thanks to a wireless device that specifies each tag’s transaction and shows any updates. It probably also knows why you’re there, what you’re wearing, and your browser history. Park with peace of mind; worry about everything else.

How long will we keep seeing the sign on the Norwood Lateral that says, “Cincinnati Gardens—Exit 2?” The place was demolished almost two years ago, and was shut down long before that. The highway sign, though, remains, like a goldfish left floating in a bowl. What’s the problem? —BAD SIGN

Dear Bad:
Your question turns out to be one of life’s profound mysteries. Norwood, an independent municipality, clearly must be responsible for the thoroughfare that carries its name, right? You’d think so, but remember, we’re talking about the government. “Norwood Lateral” is only a popular nickname; officially, the road is State Route 562. That means we should contact the Ohio Department of Transportation, right? The Doctor did so, and was told that the road, not being an Interstate Highway, is not under its jurisdiction—thanks for calling.

The Lateral travels through Norwood, but it begins and ends within the City of Cincinnati. Therefore, any maintenance responsibility depends on the exact location of the problem. To wit: The Gardens sign stands near the Paddock Road exit, which is definitely not Norwood. The Doctor waterboarded a confession out of a Cincinnati official confirming this fact. Removing the sign, he said, involves booking a bucket truck and crew, closing a lane, not interfering with other work nearby, etc. Also, money must be allocated. In other words, we’ll get back to you—thanks for calling.

At the foot of Mt. Auburn, where Dorchester Avenue meets I-71, the entrance ramp has a sign saying, “No Exit to I-471 South.” Is this sign just for laughs? Every day, cars dangerously dart across all three lanes to I-471. Who bothered to put up that sign? Is this the most-ignored, least-enforced traffic sign in all of Cincinnati? —PULL ME OVER

Dear Pull:
Welcome to the Doctor’s first all-automotive column. Unlike the previous question, this time the answers are easy.

  1. No, the sign is not for laughs. Quickly traversing the three lanes between entering I-71 and arriving at I-471 is an unsafe maneuver and should not be attempted. If you wish to get to I-471 from the intersection at Dorchester Avenue/Eden Park Drive, turn onto Reading Road instead of the I-71 ramp. That will get you to I-471. Thank you for choosing the safe, and legal, route.
  2. Your hated sign comes from the Ohio Department of Transportation, because this is a ramp leading onto an Interstate Highway (see previous question).
  3. No, this is not the most-ignored, least-enforced traffic sign in all of Cincinnati. The most-ignored, least-enforced traffic sign in all of Cincinnati is SPEED LIMIT: 55.

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