WARNING: The following post is a rant, and doesn’t have much to do with personal finance, except perhaps as far as public revenues figure into that!
Every day when I come home from work/school, I get out of the subway, walk across a pair of streets with a park in between, and walk into my apartment. This pair of streets is in the form of a loop, and is used mostly for local traffic: people picking up and dropping off people from the station or nearby apartment buildings, or local residents.
Recently, the city changed the rules on the street so that you are not allowed to stop your car to pick up or drop off people during the afternoon rush hour. There are no buses or any other vehicles that travel on these streets, and the roads are wide enough for cars to park on the side without blocking the road. I’m not sure what the point of this rule is since things were working fine before, but suffice it to say that the change was made.
Although the rules have changed, people are still picking up and dropping off people during the rush time. The other day, I was walking back to my apartment when I saw the police there telling drivers to stop by the side so they can give them a ticket. While walking across the street, I had to jump out of the way of a car who rolled right through the stop sign: She was completely preoccupied with what the cops were doing, and she was ignoring everything in front of her!
Now, there would be nothing to write about if not for the fact that this happened right in front of two police officers who watched it happen. The car wasn’t going very fast and I don’t think I would have been very hurt had I not gotten out of the way, but I have gotten my fair share of tickets for minor infractions, and I was astounded that two police officers would just watch something like that happen and then watch the car drive off.
I spoke to the police officer that was there, and while he was civil if not entirely polite, he didn’t have a reasonable explanation as to why they would just watch that happen, yet not do anything about it. I was annoyed, but I didn’t want to waste any more of my time, so I declined to make a formal complaint. As soon as I said that, he immediately bounded off, and I then saw what they were so busy with: There were at least 3-4 more cars illegally parked, and the cops had to rush over to make sure those guys were ticketed, too, before they got away!
I appreciate the role that the police play in public safety, but the cynic in me somehow feels that on that day, the cops were there for the public revenue, and not the public safety! Well, that’s how they make money!
I have just too many examples in mind: Why do I see the cops hiding on a wide industrial road where the speed limit was recently lowered to far below prevailing speeds? On the same note, why don’t I ever see them on city roads with lots of pedestrian traffic or around schools? Sure, they show up every now and then, but the rest of the time they’re hanging out between their favorite spots, often by one industrial road or another.
I think it’s because the cops know that in the first case, most people will drive above the speed limit as it is too low for conditions, while in the second case, only the inexperienced and the reckless will drive above the speed limit since it is dangerous to do so. You would think that there are plenty of those people out there for the police to catch, but perhaps it’s easier to fish in those parts where you know that everyone will be breaking the law.
P.S. This is the second time this happens to me lately. A woman on a phone almost knocked me and a friend over last week while making a right turn. She saw us at the last moment and stopped, but not without a screech of the tires!
That’s my rant of the day. 🙂