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Confidential To Connecticut Commuters: Bypass Parking Lot Purgatory And Still Be Able To Look Yourself In The Mirror

How does one know when they’ve made it in Connecticut? Is it when their net worth is north of $5 billion? Is it when news of their impending arrival downtown causes workers to roll out the fleece carpet? Is it when the Radio City Christmas Spectacular becomes known as the poor man’s version of the holiday light display on their front lawn? Is it when they can finger a horse and no one says anything? None of the above, peasants. One knows they’ve made it in Connecticut when they can board the Metro North train without having to walk 12 miles to the platform in the morning and the same amount back after getting bombed on the way home at night.

In the Metro-North parking lots along Connecticut’s Gold Coast, the haves and the have-nots aren’t defined by their clothes, car or even their net worth. Here, it’s about whether they have a flimsy green piece of paper visible on their dashboards. A public parking pass in this and other towns along the Long Island Sound has become a precious asset. The waiting list for a Fairfield Parking Authority permit has 4,200 people and stretches past six years. In another town, Rowayton, the annual permit sale is an epic frenzy similar to that surrounding the release of a new iPhone, with residents camping out overnight to ensure they get a $325 pass.

Think it’s no big D? Think again. Most people would sell their first born into White slavery for one of these elusive bad boys.

The privileged few often keep permits in the family, like aristocrats hoarding wealth. “It’s like season tickets to the Giants—even when you’re dead they get passed down to your children,” said Jim Cameron, head of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, a riders’ advocacy group that has monitored the state’s parking shortage for more than a decade.

According to the Journal, in 2009, then-Governor Jodi Rell commissioned the “Commuter Rail Parking Task Force,” run by James Redeker, which dissolved later that year after it “went nowhere. It was like the war at Vietnam—they declared victory and retreated without accomplishing anything.” And much like ‘Nam, when it comes to parking lot warfare, there are no rules, with people squatting on their spots (“John Eck, a former television executive from Fairfield, kept his permit after he left his job last spring—’just in case’ he needed to start commuting again”), scalping them to the desperate (“someone last week advertised renting his or her parking spot for $1,500 a year on the classifieds website Craigslist”), and vowing that anyone who wants theirs will have to pry it from their cold, dead hands (“You hear horror stories of people missing the renewal deadline and losing the permit in other towns,” Eck said. “I wouldn’t give it up for anything”).

Despite the fact that 1,400 new spots will be added next month, that means nothing for the thousands of residents/commuters whose options will still be to hoof or slum it (“Dominic Depiano…rushes every morning at 6:30 a.m. to a nearby Knights of Columbus, where he can get a spot for a $4 donation”). For those who aren’t yet ready to troll the parking lot at 7AM, sidling up to permit-holders and offering to give them a “ride- if you know what I mean” for every day they grant you use of their pass, some other options include:

– Parking in the sparsely populated UBS lot and catching a ride with one of the employees trying to supplement this year’s income with pedicab driving

– Buying a Zamboni on eBay and parking it any damn place you please (in a space that’s spoken for, double parked, on the platform) with the assurance that most people will see it and assume it belongs to you know who and not dare say shit.

– Giving the finger to the whole system: park your car/ass at KFC on West Main, buy a dozen Bacon Bowls, eating them at your leisure and calling it a day. You answer to no one.

Where Spots Are Hot [WSJ]

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162 Responses to “Confidential To Connecticut Commuters: Bypass Parking Lot Purgatory And Still Be Able To Look Yourself In The Mirror”

  1. it touched me says:

    - Parking in the sparsely populated UBS lot and catching a ride with one of the employees trying to supplement this year’s income with pedicab driving

    PedoCab from what I hear

  2. "White slavery" is not the preferred nomenclature, Bess. The term is "UBS IBD Conflict Clearance Analyst."

    -Guy That Hates The UBS Comments But Couldn't Help Himself This Time

  3. Texashedge says:

    Why don't they just raise the pass prices?

    • PMCO_sucks says:

      because central planners dont have brains.

    • Anonymous says:

      please keep your dumb ideas to yourself.

    • ghost of Ted Kennedy says:

      I think a better idea is to pass legislation for parking insurance reform. Everyone will have to buy a parking pass, with subsidies for those who can't afford it, paid for by a tax on the wealthiest among us. That would be much simpler and fairer than some crazy idea like letting people build for-profit parking.

    • B2b MD says:

      Does the Pope where a funny hat?

    • PermaGuestII says:

      Serious answer- b/c the parking lots aren't controlled by the railroad but by the towns. And most Connecticut towns are run by town meetings. So to raise the parking price you'd likely need to have the whole town vote in favor in a referendum. Which they won't, because the people who are actually involved in the town government are the people whose families have been there since Christ was a corporal and they've had parking passes since 1946: they don't really care if some newcomer needs to park at the VFW hall a mile away from the station.

  4. Anonymous says:

    "Rowayton, the annual permit sale is an epic frenzy similar to that surrounding the release of a new iPhone, with residents camping out overnight to ensure they get a $325 pass."

    Yeah – great reporting by the WSJ. The town did away with that method for distribution back in 2008.

  5. Backdoor_Bess says:

    "finger the horse" ?????

    or what I call a Saturday night.

    ~ Phil

  6. UBS mastertrader says:

    My civic is a home market model that came with a folding scooter in the trunk! Beat that!

  7. Guest says:

    It is stupid beyond words that when the government is subsidizing hybrids-electric vehicles, we are not spending money to encourage one of the few really effective large-scale commuter rail programs. We should be getting carbon tax offsets by building parking lots to get more people out of cars and onto trains.

    • PermaGuestII says:

      Good luck getting that past a Fairfield County zoning board.

    • AHFM says:

      Grew up in one of the little Westchester towns on the Metro North Harlem line. Sometime around 1981, I recall, with the parking lots around the station totally exhausted, the mayor proposed decking over the railway trench with a parking lot. The NIMBYs of course went berserk, claiming that this ugly trench (hidden behind the back of Main Street stores) was of great architectural significance, that its decking over would irretrievably alter the character of the town. Went back this year for a high school reunion. Few of my classmates now live in the town…and guess what, now they take the train and they are now fighting the battle started by their parents to get more parking built.

    • Guest says:

      So what you're saying is that drivers, unable to drive to a station in Connecticut and comfortably and/or cheaply park there, will drive to and pay to park in NYC instead. Makes sense.

      – UBS Carbon Analyst

    • guest says:

      Or you fat bastards could, umm, walk to the station?

  8. average guy says:

    wtf? i thought you guys all commuted to work in helicopters

  9. B.H. Obama says:

    "I'm working on freeing up more parking spaces."

    • J. Biden says:

      Do nothing Republicans just want to see people get raped and murdered instead of adding one parking spot!

  10. guestapo says:

    re tag " A Black Card will get you Jonas Brothers tickets. A CT Parking Permit will have all three of them S'ing your D within the hour"

    1. bravo
    2. I can't say how, but I can confirm this is true.

  11. RichieRich says:

    Green Paper Holders = The 1%

    Discuss.

  12. Guest says:

    Why wouldn't you just have a driver?

  13. Guest says:

    Or you just park in Porcelli's actual lot in OG and call it a day.

  14. Gues says:

    Mom: what the fuck is a Commuter?

    -Wilbur

  15. Guest says:

    Whatever happened to just copying someone elses pass? I doubt they look for duplicates

  16. Jason says:

    This would be a bigger problem if it wasn't so easy to photoshop the new Fairfield passes to fool the geriatrics they have checking them.

    Or if the $35 a day ticket meant anything to us Wall St. types.

  17. Hey19 says:

    Big D is a burger at Dutchess, as anyone in these towns should know.

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