Parking in Glendale: A Two-Hour Odyssey Through a Hell That Made Cormac McCarthy's The Road Look Like Candy Land
I've paid to park at a non-meter a few times in the years I've lived in Arizona, but probably not more than five. Each time, it hurts. I mean, we're in the middle of the desert. No 275 square feet of asphalt-covered real estate in Phoenix is worth renting at $5 for a few hours. I still burn with fury over the $3 I paid to drop anchor several hundred yards from the Cleveland Indians spring training facility in Goodyear -- and that was at a game last year.
Heading out to Glendale for WrestleMania/Paul McCartney on Sunday, I had big dreams about pulling the seemingly impossible, parking for free in the biggest rip-off zone in the Valley on the biggest day it'll ever see. I succeeded. Well, sorta. After spending just over two hours winding my way through the labyrinth over and over again, I invoked my media privileges and parked in the VIP lot.
This is the story of what happened prior to that, during an odyssey through the seedy underbelly of Glendale's non-VIP parking options.
The Check Point
Wanna hear a cool piece of trivia about Glendale? The United States Constitution does not apply there! Weird, right? Glendale is part of the territory commonly claimed by the American government, but it seems the city doesn't follow the same rules the rest of the country does.
How else would you explain a check-point -- manned by rent-a-cops -- with the apparent authority to stop law-abiding citizens driving down a public street in broad daylight and question them about their intentions? You wouldn't be able to do that in America proper. A rent-a-cop would not have the authority to stop or question anyone on a public street and, for the security officer, pretending he did have such authority would be illegal.
My first plan of attack was to park in a rednecky neighborhood near the stadium -- actually, a smattering of trailer homes surrounded by towering walls seem to be the closest housing to U of P -- and walk to the arena. Sadly, upon driving down this public street, I was stopped by a gentleman (without a badge) who demanded to know my business in the neighborhood.
"I'm driving down this public street," I said.
"What are you doing there?" he asked.
"I don't know, I'm just driving down this public street," I said. "Do I have to tell you where I'm going or is this a public street paved and maintained with my tax dollars?"
"You're not allowed down this street," he said. "The city says you cannot park here."
"There aren't any No Parking signs," I said. "Shouldn't there be No Parking signs?"
"It's a city law," he said.
"Oh?" I said. "I'd like to see a copy of the city ordinance. Do you have one?"
"Pull over and I'll call my supervisor," he said.
So I did. I waited for something like 15 minutes while this gentleman explained the finer points of the law to me (I have a law degree) and no supervisor showed up. Is there an ordinance? I'm not sure. It's hard to believe anyone in the same Glendale city government that approved the zoning for this monstrous complex would be smart enough to figure out how to pass any "law," let alone an extra-special law that would magically obviate the need for street signage warning of parking restrictions on a public road, or allow the city government to bestow police powers normally reserved for law enforcement officers on some idiot in a polo shirt. Who knows, maybe they did.
I sorta doubt it, though.
I decided to search out another alternative.