I recently observed that parking meters have been installed in a strip mall in Chicago. The location: the south side of Lawrence Avenue at Oakley. This mall is home to a video store, a pizza joint, a Bosnian restaurant, a convenience store and a nail salon along with a couple other small establishments. A dollar store used to anchor the place, but it’s gone now. There’s a huge “For Rent” sign that has “DESPERATE” written all over it.
Gee, ya think drivers are going to patronize those businesses if they have to fork over a quarter for every 15 minutes? What about those talons that aren’t quite dry when the meter runs out? Are your claws worth a $50 ticket? That’s $10 a nail, not counting fees and tips. I don’t know, I’d rather paint my nails myself or get them done someplace I can walk or bike to.
The point of strip malls is that sure, they’re ugly, but they’re convenient. You eat lunch at the Bosnian restaurant, then stop in next door for a manicure. Then you notice the video store, and you just gotta have the latest version of Jackass, so you go and spend a few bucks there. All of this commerce supposedly takes place while you’re not obsessing about how many seconds are left on your parking meter.
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If you live within walking distance, a strip mall is just another blight on your ’hood. At least it’s not as offensive as gang tags on light poles and overflowing garbage cans. But if you come from some distance away and have to drive, you take a look at those meters and move on. Nothing to see here, folks.