mánudagur, september 18, 2006

the parking clock

Hello from Akureyri, the capital of Iceland's north and one of the few world cities of 15,000 to show up on your globe. It's a beautiful town and a beautiful fall day. The trees downtown are turning color and the air is clear and with the edge of a chill. The skies are blue and the fjord is still, with the mountain across from town still green with the remnants of summer.

Akureyri has a beautiful and cozy downtown and that's where I am working now. Today I learned about the Akureyri solution to parking here in town and that's the parking clock. There are plenty of municipal parking lots and lots of street parking besides, but no parking meters or other payment mechanisms. So the parking appears to be completely free at first blush. It is free, but not unlimited. It's actually limited by time to 15/30/60/120 minutes, and this is enforced by means of an ingenious system: a little sticky clock that goes in the windshield. Gas stations give these clocks out for free, as do banks and other places of business as promotional items. When you park, you set the clock hand to the current time. As long as you're not there in the spot for 15/30/60/120 minutes past that time, you're cool. But the moment you go over, boom! You get a ticket. And if you don't know about the clocks and blithely leave your car somewhere with an empty windshield, also boom! Ticket. I saw the Akureyri Parking Patrol roving around just now at lunch, blue-suited with ticket books at the ready, strolling with that street-owning confidence that only meter maids can display.

So instead of "feeding the meter", you need to run outside and "change the clock" when your parking time runs out. I intend to keep my windshield clock on proud display when I get back to the Big Town, just to display my allegiance to the real deal and "Iceland's Iceland": this glittering northern bær of Akureyri.


Blogger AS said...

Be careful what you bring back from north. People get beat up for less here in Kopavogur.

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Wow - interesting way to time people. I totally would've gotten a ticket too. How much did it cost, by the way?

Blogger JB said...

Árni: Did you check it out? It's downstairs in my car window. Yeeah! Northern pride.

Mindy: The clock is totally free, as is the parking. All that's required is that you run outside and advance the hour hand when your time runs out.

Blogger Frances Epp said...

Well, I am about to take a trip to Iceland and I am so glad I ran into your helpful blog! Thanks!


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