From ticket trap to the honour system: Green Door owners come up with way to spread good karma

The owners of the Green Door are now running an honour-based parking lot on Main Street and donating proceeds to charity.

The owners of the Green Door are now running an honour-based parking lot on Main Street and donating proceeds to charity.

By Meredith Newberry

Sit back, relax and enjoy a meal. That’s what most people want to do when they eat out. That’s what Green Door owners, Ron Farmer and Jenny Ong want for their customers too.

But it wasn’t happening that way. Instead many of their customers were getting hefty parking tickets in the strictly monitored lot beside Singing Pebble bookstore, just south of their Main Street restaurant.

With the arrival of construction last spring, Farmer and Ong’s parking woes got worse. They knew they needed to do something to survive the parking drought  on Old Ottawa East’s prime thoroughfare over the next two years.

They were talking about ways to alleviate the stress of parking near Main Street when Farmer had an idea. He and Ong asked to take over the lease of the very parking lot that had caused their customers so many headaches. The owner agreed.

They took over the lease for the lot in May. Suddenly, a lot that had become notorious for fines if pay-and-display parking tickets were not shown, now became a place to park based on the honour system.

This means when you park your car, you still need to pay for parking. But you are guaranteed not to get a parking ticket.

How does it work?

Park in one of the newly painted spots and head over to the green canoe-shaped kiosk. There’s an envelope where you pay your money.

Parking rates are listed on a sign. Select one of the listed charities to which to donate your parking fees and off you go to dine at the restaurant, browse the Singing Pebble bookstore, shop at the Green Door Grocer or grab a coffee at Cafe Qui Pense.

Enjoying coffee with a friend? No problem. Your car will be waiting for you and no white ticket will be waving at you when you return ten minutes late. Just pop another fifty cents in the donation box on your way out.

So far the honour system has been a success, Farmer said.

“People are paying.”

One overjoyed customer left a note for Farmer: “Love it! You’re inviting us to be honest and spreading good karma! Thank you.”

Farmer is hoping many more customers are happy and that this new venture is successful. He has taken a business license from the city for the next two years, obtained the required insurance and will arrange for snow removal in winter.

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