Dear Chief Wayman:
Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed visiting Downtown Westfield and frequenting the Westfield Rialto with my family and friends. The management of the theater has done a great job of upgrading the facility, and the people who work there have been extremely accommodating, however, after an experience that occurred earlier today, I do not plan on returning there in the future.
I decided to take my niece and nephew to see a movie that was scheduled to start at 12 p.m. We drove through the parking lot behind the theater (Lot 5) and there were no vacant spots. I drove along Elmer and Lenox but was unable to locate anything there as well. After scanning Lot 7 with nothing apparently open, the only spot I was able to find was on the street near the corner of Lenox and Elmer Streets. It was a two-hour spot, and I fed the meter with enough quarters and dimes to reach the maximum allowable total. Realizing it was a 98 minute movie and with no other options within proximity of the theater, I figured it would give us just enough time to see the movie and leave without a problem. I parked the car at 11:40 a.m. and went into the theater to see the movie, which cost $34 to see with additional money spent in the concession stand.
While I did consider walking out midway through the movie to find a new spot, there was no way I could leave two children in the theater alone. After previews and other advertisements, the movie ended approximately at 1:45 p.m., and the children wanted to stop for a bathroom break. We headed directly for the car, and I noticed a parking ticket for $32 on my windshield. The ticket was given at 1:42 p.m. (about 5 minutes before I was back at the car) and a movie with two children turned into an $80 day. Obviously, I was very unhappy with the situation.
Since it was a two-hour spot, I understand I am guilty of the violation and paid the ticket, but the question I have is what good is a two-hour spot near a movie theater if most movies are two hours or longer? The parking rule near a theater does not make sense. What other options did I have? I am assuming I am not the only one who has encountered this problem and feel terribly for all of the people who are being fined for a situation they really could not control.
Rather than run the risk of no vacant four-hour spots near the theater, I plan on finding other alternatives for movies where parking is free and not in short supply like in Linden, Edison and Mountainside. It is a shame that I am forced to end my relationship with a town where I have such great memories.