Parking Wars

We’ve all had that terrible stomach-chilling moment when we rush back to our parked car only to find that glaring yellow envelope poking up out of our windshield wipers – the meter maid has struck and we’re now on the hook for a $45 ticket that we’ll begrudgingly mail off once the due date edges dangerously close.

A&E has set its sights on the concrete battleground contested by busy commuters and eager parking meter attendants and the shady characters and interactions in between.

Originally following Philadelphia’s finest parking authority as they performed their daily functions of parking enforcement, the series has now broadened in scope to include Detroit and Rhode Island, too. What constitutes a normal day for a member of the parking enforcement squad, you may wonder? In addition to normal ticketing for tardy shoppers, you can see plenty of booting and, in some extreme cases of failure to pay extensive parking tickets, impounding.

A meter maid writes a violator a ticket

Naturally, tempers flare amongst drivers that return from starbucks or KFC to find that their ride home has been towed away courtesy of the city. Parking Wars showcases plenty of heated exchanges between those entrusted with the solemn duty of policing the meters and sidewalks and no-parking zones and the enraged citizens whose vehicles they must take action against.

Viewers get to see some of the heated exchanges from the perspectives of the municipal workers that are just trying to do their jobs and keep their paychecks coming in, possibly inspiring more compassion for the oft-maligned local meter maid.

“Booting” refers to the placing of a giant metal “boot” or restrictive clamping device on the front wheels of vehicles so that repeat violators literally cannot drive their cars away until they rectify their past due balance with the city.

The show follows several different parking enforcement officers as they make their rounds on their downtown beats or on the outskirts of the city, on the prowl for motorists who have ignored or disregarded posted signs about the parking areas and zones where stopping or standing is prohibited.

As the episodes progress, viewers are introduced to more and more enforcement agents and get to know them as individuals. For example, Kathy, who now works in parking enforcement, started out as a crossing guard and once gave her own brother a parking ticket.

Shows how committed she is to her job and the law! Steve, who is also known as “curly” by some fellow agents in reference to his wild hair, is another several year veteran who patrols the streets outside the court house district.

Those that find the show entertaining enough to stick with it through its multiple seasons will get a sense of how parking laws and meter ticketing vary from state to state as the later seasons begin to focus entirely on Rhode Island and its officers. What do you think? Will Parking Wars have the same staying power as our most beloved auction based TV programming?

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