People probably park their vehicles badly in every city, but in Troy, where even a $60,000 study failed to end debate about whether there are adequate parking opportunities downtown (there are, the study said, but its methodology was criticized), an Instagram account that documents particularly awful or strange parking attempts in the Collar City might seem like some sort of political statement.
But the person behind the account, @troyparking, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss what might be the city’s most contentious issue, told The Alt that although he doesn’t think there’s a shortage of parking downtown, his posts are really just meant “to offer a lighthearted look” at the purported problem.
Drivers aren’t always adept at parallel parking, he said, but they sometimes seem to feel entitled to a spot right in front of their destination. “When they can’t park, they get frustrated and then they jam their car into a spot that’s not a spot. It’s just funny.”
Mayor Patrick Madden announced in April that the city, after scrapping a plan to privatize its parking management, would roll out an array of parking-related reforms this month. Changes include “the upgrade of all existing parking meters, deploying upgraded kiosks to high-demand areas, reconfigured parking hours to encourage outer district parking, creation of dedicated visitor parking, improved public parking wayfinding signage, and launch of online payment options for metered street parking,” according to a press release.
The man behind @troyparking, who has lived in Troy for nearly a decade and works downtown, is rather agnostic on these changes, though he did mention he’s not an advocate for ramped-up enforcement. He also said he’s not trying to direct communal or legal scrutiny toward specific scofflaws. Followers have started sending him their own photos, but he’s reluctant to share the ones that show license plate numbers.
The Instagram account’s profile picture is a Norman Rockwell painting, “The Street Was Never the Same Again,” which the Ford Motor Company commissioned to celebrate its 50th anniversary, according to local historian Don Rittner. The scene depicts people gawking at a man cruising past 296 Fourth Street in South Troy in an early model Ford. (The work’s title, which likely seemed laudatory at the time, now takes on a different hue, as cities explore ways to make their streets more pedestrian-friendly.)
The Instagram account owner doesn’t go out specifically looking for content—it’s really just a hobby (if that), and he hasn’t done much to promote it—but says he intends to keep it going.
“It’s easy,” he said.