The parking stories reminded me of an incident DF and I had recently.
Background: There is an area of downtown where the street parking is either metered, residential, or free. There is also a parking garage, which charges $1/half-hour, compared to $1.50/hour at the meters. The free parking is next to a little greenspace. One of downtown's two main streets runs N/S, with the greenspace to its east. The greenspace is narrow where it intersects with the Main Street, but long. A one-way street runs down each of the long sides, connecting the main street to a residential street at the other end. The streets to either side of the park are residential parking on one side, free parking on the other. The residential street perpendicular to the park is half a block of residential, half a block of free, then half a block of residential again. The house on the corner lot catty corner to the park has been preserved as a museum. There is a section of free parking directly in front of the museum; I believe parking on the other road it fronts is residential.
Every so often, I have noticed that there have been orange cones in the parking spaces directly in front of the museum. I mentioned it to a friend of mine, and she told me that they were put there by the museum to reserve the spaces for their employees, and that she had been chastised by the museum for parking there before and had finally asked the city parking division about it. The parking division confirmed that they do not recognize orange cones as creating a No Parking area, and that the museum had been informed that they were welcome to file the necessary paperwork and pay the requisite fee to have the city install official signs reserving the spaces for their private use.
So, with all that background in place, on to the excitement. DF and I drove downtown to take care of some business, and found that all the parking on the streets paralleling the greenspace was taken, but 2 or 3 spaces in front of the museum were open. One orange cone had been set out, but there was plenty of space to park in front of the cone, which we did (leaving one space behind us, and 2 or 3 in front). Just as DF set the emergency brake, a car coming the opposite way on that street came to a screeching stop, blocking traffic, and a man jumped out and told us we couldn't park there. I responded mildly that we were in a valid public parking spot, whereupon his passenger jumped out to inform us that they had just left for a moment to get more cones. I reiterated that we were in a valid public parking spot, and they regaled us with the history of the museum. I reiterated that we were in a valid public parking space, and they launched into the tale of how they (allegedly) petitioned the city for that area to be non-residential, for the good of the museum, and the history of the museum was... I finally reiterated one last time that we were in a valid public parking space, and that if they felt otherwise they were welcome to call parking enforcement, but we would be on our way now. And we locked the doors and left, with them still hollering after us about the history of the museum, and their stopped car in the southbound lane and them in the northbound still completely stopping traffic.