Best Place to Get a Traffic Ticket (2000)

Revitalized section of downtown

"Downtown...," sang Petula Clark, "...where all the lights are bright." And she's exactly right -- it's where all the flashing red lights are brightest. Perhaps the trade-off, the sense of security from crime, is worth it. But downtown cops seem dead set on writing up damn near every driver that ventures anywhere near the downtown district. On certain weekday mornings, horse-mounted patrols stand by major intersections (Milam at Texas, for one) in stakeouts for those most dreaded of criminals -- motorists whose car licenses or inspection stickers have lapsed. Otherwise, there's a wealth of choices from the legions of citation corps: squad cars, UH-Downtown campus cops, Metro police in cars, Metro police on bicycles, HPD bike cops, HPD officers on foot and more. Hardest-hit are occasional drivers into the central city; those trying to obey traffic laws while figuring out how to run the maze of one-way streets, no-turn intersections, detours for construction and dearth of on-street parking. Then there are those trying to do it drunk. Thousands of Houstonians do manage to navigate the labyrinth without municipal court citations. They return to their cars, breathe a sigh of relief and make it home -- only to notice the meter maid's parking ticket tucked under the wipers.

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