The City of Denver runs a residential street sweeping program from April to November of each year. Street sweepers are most effective on residential streets when they can line up right along the edge of the gutter and then drive forward in a straight line down the street. Of course, cars parked in the way ruin this setup. So, no parking zones are enforced on the days the street sweeper comes along.
To make the no parking requirement minimally intrusive on the people who live on each street, they enforce the no parking regulations on only one side of the street at a time. Since the street sweepers hit each route monthly, the no parking is only enforced on one day each month in the form of a sign that says,
Apr – Nov
As you can imagine, each month some poor soul who lives on the street forgets, or someone who doesn’t usually park in that neighborhood doesn’t notice the signs, and they get a parking ticket.
The really interesting thing, however, happens each April, when everyone from residents to visitors has dropped all pretense of vigilance toward the signs that are always there, but have been unenforceable for the past four months. On the first Tuesday of April I drive up the usual street on the way downtown, and down one side of the block, each and every car has a yellow parking ticket sticking out from between the frame and driver’s side door.
I imagine the city makes more parking ticket revenue the first week of April than at any other time of year as residents suddenly become aware, albeit too late, that it is street sweeping season again and the ritual of moving your car to the other side on one day each month begins.
Each year I think that this event would make a good story somehow. I don’t know if it is the perverse beauty of row after row of yellow paper flags sticking out of each car, or the vision of drivers come out, each in their own time and noticing their ticket, and those of those parked around them. Picturing the inevitable anger and conspiracy theories that must accompany the sight of mass governmental enforcement.
Whatever it is, I never really come up with much of a story to tell and the concept fades from my mind as the pleasant sights of Spring, and the duties of my freelance writing business, overwhelm my attention, at least until next year, when it as inevitably as the end of Winter, it happens again.