Ideas, idle gossip and occasionally important odds ‘n’ ends… by Jack Wright
Instead, I’m going to rehash my other favorite subject… parking!
Wildwood City Council has just introduced a new system which allows drivers to pay for parking using a cell phone. After first-time usage, which is free, drivers can register by phone or online and deposit money in a pre-paid account, just like you would with EZ-Pass.
Drivers can set up the account either before visiting town OR it can be done at the meter. Once a driver has registered, the system will recognize the cell phone number.
“Along with making things easier for individual parkers, mobile payment also is expected to greatly decrease the time that vehicles remain in spaces beyond their maximum limit,” said Wildwood’s mayor Gary DeMarzo. “During busy summer months, that means greater turnover of spaces as well.”
The city has signed a three-year deal with iControl Mobile Payment Solutions, and it looks like other shore towns might soon be joining them.
I mentioned the scheme a few weeks ago and I am asking/pleading for Cape May City Council to take a serious look at this plan. I do believe that the parking meter system that the city introduced three or four years ago is a public relations disaster. People either don’t know that there ARE meters, or they don’t know how to work them, or, more recently, the meters break down on a regular basis.
Ask any business owner, or tourist, around town and they will most likely tell you the same thing – the system sucks. It’s time to change it.
And now I’m going to let you into a little secret, one that was first shared with me last year by my colleague Dan Mathers. Dan had mentioned that there was a colony of fireflies (or, if you prefer, lightning bugs) just past the creek, where Elmira Street turns into Central Avenue, as you are leaving town.
It was only recently that I actually paid attention, stopping for a few minutes as I biked back from town. And now it’s become an unmissable part of every trip home. All I can say is – ride your bike, or pull your car off the road and extinguish your lights (ensuring, of course, that you’re not creating a hazard) and enjoy one of the most amazing natural spectacles that Cape May has to offer.
It looks, on both sides of the road, as if someone had taken a huge bunch of flickering Christmas lights and filled the bushes with them.
Go witness it.
I would like to thank, on behalf of a very grateful Pat Demnisky, lifeguard Melissa Hessler, who rescued Pat from a nasty rip tide on Saturday afternoon. Pat is the mother-in-law of my dear friend Lawrence Green, a New York-based liquor genius who has a second home six doors up from me on Stimpson Lane. Pat is a proud, resilient, resourceful woman but she was shaken up by the experience. Like many people, I sometimes take the beach patrol for granted, but you can’t help be impressed by how quickly they react when things go badly. It’s tragic that a man from Philadelphia (he was unnamed as we went to press) risked the tricky waters on Saturday evening, an hour after the beach patrol had left for the day. The man was pulled unconscious from the water at Pittsburgh Avenue beach at 6:30pm. Bystanders tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead after emergency services took him to Cape Regional Medical Center.
I know it’s easier said than done but if you DO get pulled by a rip tide try and remember the following – don’t swim against it. The best thing to do is either to tread water and conserve your energy until it passes or swim away from it, parallel to the shore and then swim back to the beach once you feel you are out of it.
And better still, don’t go in the water after the lifeguards have left.
Finally, I would like to say the following: Welcome back, Officer Steve Pascal, of the Cape May Police Department!
I guess we’ll be talking convention hall next week. Until then, have a wonderful time in America’s Original Seaside Resort (for those of us lucky enough to be here).