Ever been screwed over by Parking Enforcement?

I’m tired of this. It’s the third time since I’ve lived in DC that I’ve been given a bogus parking ticket. I’m taking about a ticket that is just plain fraudulent. Right out front of my home, where I have been parking for 12 years. I was squarly between the green (“OK to park here”) signs with my front bumper sticking past the sign maybe three inches (the signs are so close together that it’s impossible to park anything but a toaster oven this space without either your front or rear bumber sticking out a few inches).

I went to have a hearing yesterday, thinking that this has got to be a mistake. How can you post signs that identify a place as legal to park and then give a ticket to anybody who tries to park there? Well the hearing examiner was not impressed with my point of view. He basically said that even if one molecule of my car’s bumper was sticking out past the sign, I was in a no standing zone and subject to the $50 fine. When I mentioned that the signs were very close together, his reply was that is my car was too large to fit in this space then I shouldn’t be parking there. I think I’ll have some signs made up that say “Toaster Oven Parking Only”.

FTR, my area is one of the three most crowded areas in DC as far as parking goes (the other two are DuPont & Adams Morgan), but I could see from his stony expression that any pleas for leniency based on this reason would have been useless.

I realize that these signs are there for a reason. You can’t be parked too close to the corner otherwise the budwiser truck can’t make that right turn without taking your bumber off, but for cripes sakes why in the hell did some parking enforcement drone look at my car and say “Whoa! That car is jutting out way past the green sign and obstructing traffic! I had better issue a citation right away!”

Everybody repeat after me: Quotas

I know that three tickets in 12 years doesn’t sound like a lot, but it just frosts my shorts to think that parking enforcement can reach into my pocket and yank out $50 any time they want.

What were the other two tickets for, you ask? The first was for using a school parking lot several years ago (the school was deserted for summer recess and the no parking sign had been bleached white by the sun). I was ruled liable for the fine because the sign was still posted, even if you couldn’t read it. The 2nd time I was sitting in a bank and could see the enforcement person giving me a ticket for parking in a rush our zone even though it was 9:37 (rush hour ends at 9:30). I was again found guilty (my word against theirs), never mind the fact that the bank employee (a notary public) that was working with me saw this too, and wrote a letter on my behalf.

I think I’m going to appeal this. I swear it was only three inches…

When I was visiting in DC a few years ago, I got one, too. I parked on the street where it allowed parking after 6 pm. I parked at 5:45 pm, on CHRISTMAS EVE, the year that the federal government shut down - that is on a holiday, PLUS the city is shut down, and they STILL gave me a $75 ticket!!!

I just got one last Thursday that I’m going to protest. It was a city lot in Cambridge (Massachusetts), with parking meters at each space. It was about 7:30 in the evening, and when I saw a car behind me pulling out, I backed into the space. I got out and checked the meter to see if it was still enforced (right next to a restaurant so I figured it might have late hours). On the meter it said:

Head-in parking only
6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

I was backed in, but it was past 6 so I figured I’m okay. When I came back, I had a ticket for parking the wrong way.

Here in Chicago, I got a ticket for a street cleaning violation. I got the ticket at 9:30am or so. My SO happened to be on the front porch at the time and saw the officer ticketing my car. She went down to talk about it, as she had parked my car the night before and was certain that there were no posted signs at that time.

Turns out that the bastards had put up the signs at 6am that morning stating that we couldn’t park there that day. Of course, I don’t drive my car to work, and took no notice of any signs as I walked to the bus stop.

I typed up a nice letter explaining how utterly wrong the whole situation was. About three months later I got a letter back stating that I was not responsible for the fine. I guess sometimes the system works.

However, if I was not satisfied with the outcome, I could request a hearing in person with some city official or another, for the low low cost of $250. So, if someone wants to talk about dismissing their $60 ticket, they can do so for $250. Nice racket.

When I first bought my car in Columbus, OH, I had some minor paperwork to finish at my bank so I drove my brand spankin’ new car on over. Relizing I had no change and that there was a meter to feed, I parked, got a dollar bill out and got out of my car to make the very quick walk all of 15-20 feet throught the doors and to a teller of my bank since there was no line. I shit you not, I wasn’t in there 30 seconds, if even 20, and when I got back out to my car I had a ticket and the bastard was nowhere in sight. Scumbag.

To add insult to injury, I parked my new car at my apartment and had the privilege of paying a towing company to take it far far away in the middle of the night. It seems that they had some racket where they didn’t have to be called by anyone in the complex, they could just locate cars w/out the requisite proof that the owner lived there and tow them. I’m probably lucky I didn’t own gun at the time.

This happens to me on such a regular basis here in NYC that it’s not funny.

There’s a specific pair of parking spots one block away from my house where there used to be a sign permitting parking (except at street-cleaning times), separating those from a second sign, further down the block, which forbids parking at any time. The sign blew down in a storm and was never replaced. The cops here, especially one specific bastard with whose signature I’ve become familiar, love to ticket those spots…and to make sure his tickets stick, that one bastard lies about the address opposite which the car is parked.

I’ve fought these tickets with affidavits, pictures and letters from the Department of Transportation (certifying that the sign should be there, and that the law on that street had not been changed), and been successful every time. So, fortunately, the system as a whole works just fine. It’s a bit of a waste of my time, but I love the feeling of satisfaction over sticking it to that guy. I hope someone one day notices how many summonses of his have been dismissed and they fire his stupid behind.

Opus, I am DC as well and I know what you mean. Check out these two threads

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=31858#post600101
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=31927#post601406

Just a couple of weeks ago, I got screwed.

I was driving to see Drain bead in Columbus, OH. It’s always tough to park there, but I know the places to go.

I pulled in at 3AM, tired from my eight hour trip. I saw a spot that I had often parked at, right on a corner of an island that was the fork in a road.

The next day, I see I have a ticket. Sure enough, there is a brand new sign there. At 3AM, parking at a place where I had always parked legally, I did not think, “Oh gee, maybe someone put a sign in at some point.” Silly me.

I’m sending them a letter and hoping I’ll be forgiven the $30 fine.


Yer pal,
Satan

I HAVE BEEN SMOKE-FREE FOR:
Four months, four weeks, 16 hours, 59 minutes and 46 seconds.
6028 cigarettes not smoked, saving $753.54.
Extra life with Drain Bead: 2 weeks, 6 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes.

In Newport Beach this past Labor Day weekend, I received a ticket for expired registration. I had sent in my renewal, and should get the tags any day now. The thing is, they can run a check for that sort of thing using your vehicle license and VIN number. On the ticket there was a note that my VIN number was covered. Liars! I even checked, thinking maybe I had thrown something up on the dash to obscure it, but it was easily visible from the outside. Laziness is so intolerable.

I was ticketed this summer for parking in the lot I paid to park in.

Here’s the deal: this year, for reasons unknown, the campus Traffic & Parking Office issued rearview mirror hangers instead of windshield stickers. I suspect that they’re trying to increase revenues by sticking people with tickets when they forget to put up their little hanger after they park.

Anyway, here’s what happened with me: I was parked in the area-reserved lot for which I had paid. My hanger was properly displayed, hanging on my mirror for the world to see. I was ticketed for “failure to remove the previous permit” (the parking sticker from last year).

I fought it and won, though. My reasoning: the reason for the rule that requires you to remove your previous permit is to enable the parking nazi, er, officer, to see at a glance whether the permit on a given car is current and valid, without a lot of other stickers mucking up the view. Because there was no chance of mistaking a new hanger for an old sticker, my failure to remove the sticker did not frustrate the purpose of the rule.

I knew law school would be good for something one day…

I’ve gotten a couple of parking tickets, but they were on the rare times I took a chance and parked illegally.

I lived in the San Francisco area for a few years. I once received a notice in the mail for an overdue parking ticket at an Oakland address. Only problem was, I drove by the address rarely, had never stopped or parked anywhere within miles of there, and was at work in another city when the ticket was issued. Fortunately, all I had to do was send the court a notarized statement saying that, and the ticket was dismissed.

Another time I parked at a meter near Pier 39. I timed my visit a little too closely and got back to the car just in time to see the meter had expired and a policeman had pulled out his ticket book. He saw me, and luckily for me, he closed his book and waved me on. I said “Thank you, officer!” a few times loudly and gratefully.

There was a cute clown in S. Cruz, Calif, who got arrested for putting quarters in parking meters for people so they would have more time!

He went to court & won.

While I was walking the picket line a few weeks ago, I stuck a few dimes in parking meters that I noticed had expired- but only if I saw the parking nazi (I like that term) approaching. I had no idea you could get arrested for it. How would they prove that it’s not my car? They can’t ask for my registration unless they’ve got me on a moving violation right?

I heard several years ago that part of the reason for the (then current) budget crisis was that the city wasn’t generating as much revenue from paking fines as before. Can you believe that? That means the city relies on the commission of crimes by its residents in order to make budget.

Well, in many cities you could get arrested (or at least cited) even if it is YOUR car for which you are plugging an extra dime.

Most parking meters are not “90 minutes unless you put more money in.” They are “90 consecutive minutes maximum.” The purpose of parking meters is not only to generate revenue (though that is most of it) but also to guarantee a reasonable overturn of parking spaces.

So the person in the story mentioned wasn’t arrested for putting money into other people’s meters but rather for putting money into meters so as to allow the car owner to exceed the time limit.

I seem to recall a big stink in Cincinnati a few years ago. It seems a nice old lady got arrested for putting coins in parking meters to help folks out. Anyone remember this?

I, too, am currently living in the DC area. I work downtown but live in Maryland. I read in the paper all the time about over-vigorous parking enforcement and the joke of an ajudication process. In some places, they have signs posted side by side that are totally contradictory.

But I don’t park in DC (call me MetroBoy), and very rarely drive there.

The one time I fought a parking ticket and won was when I was living in Arizona and got a parking violation mailed to me. It said I had received a ticket, not paid it, and now owed an additional penalty. The ticket was from Tucson which was about 1 1/2 hours away. Now, I went there all the time (not much to do in Sierra Vista) and couldn’t remember ever parking illegally or getting a ticket.

So, I matched up the date/time of the ticket with my work schedule and determined that there was no way I could have been there when they said. I think what happened is that a licence plate number was entered incorrectly, and that I received a notice meant for someone else. Luckily, the traffic appeals process worked for me. I didn’t even have to show up–they took care of it through the mail for me.

That would never, ever happen in DC.

The DC DMV is a nightmare. Not too long ago a bunch of employees were busted for doing all sorts of illegal things. It seemed like if you wanted some tickets dismissed and you asked for a hearing you were doing the wrong thing. You were supposed to bribe the person behind the counter. You can imagine that if hearings would serve to dismiss tickets it would cut into their profits.

And they wonder why people flee to the suburbs.

I paid a meter box (pull into the slot, find the box and put cash into the slot that matches your space number) for ten hours worth of parking ($3), and got a ticket for failing to pay 30 minutes later. As per the instructions on the back of the ticket, I contacted the company that runs the parking lot, and explained to them what happened. The person there said fine, it’s not a problem, don’t worry about it. 3 Months later I get a letter from a a collection agency, saying that I needed to pay up NOW. When I called the company about this, They said that I should have put my original response to the ticket in writing, and since I didn’t they didn’t remove the ticket from there files. They did finally clear it up for me, but nowhere on the ticket did they state this, and the person I talked to on the phone never stated it, either. Ah, scams.

Franklin Park is a suburb of Chicago with a Metra line through it. The Franklin Park train station is a serious express stop (no stops from FP to just before downtown Chicago!) and a lot of people drive there from other suburbs to catch trains even if a local station is closer. Myself included, of course. Knowing they have a ready supply of car-owning downtown-working non-residents (read: not voters in their village) has made the city fathers – or city mother-@!#$%$s – of FP very greedy.

  1. Other stations I’ve parked at have given non-payers an initial break – an envelope is put under your windshield, and then if you don’t put the $1 parking fee in the envelope and put the envelope in the drop box, THEN your car will be towed the next time it’s spotted. That’s because they realize when the train is coming, and the next train may be a half-hour or more later, people are going to run for the train rather than miss it paying the fee. But not bloody Franklin Park! I was running for the train one morning, and figured I could bypass paying the $1 one day because they’d put an envelope on my car. Nope! They put a ticket for $20.

Right after that, I found out they sell a $20 monthly parking tag. (They don’t advertise it in any way, shape, or form.) I had no problems for several months until:

  1. Last Friday was the 1st of September, and the old parking pass had just run out. But being Friday, I had forgotten that it was also the first of the month. I got on the train with an August pass in the window and came back to a $35 ticket. And to add insult to injury, the ticket specifically noted I had an August ticket, so they KNEW I wasn’t a fly-by-night with no intention of paying.

Ever heard of a warning, you schmucks? You’ll give warnings for speeding but not for parking in the train lot with a monthly pass expired by ONE DAY?!?

Of course, it doesn’t help that one of the train station parking lots – the one I end up in because the one in front of the depot fills very early – is also the police station parking lot, with cops in and out all hours of the day.

I’m parking at Univ. Texas at Austin (megabig state school) on a Saturday, in a lot of about 300 cars. From what I could tell of the signs, it was ok to park where I did.

I go about my bidness, and walk back several blocks to my car. The parking Nazi bastard had just finished writing me up when I got there. (If I’d only run! Grr.) Apparently, parking on one side of the aisle was just find, but parking on the other side was punishable by a $50 ticket.

So I don’t pay the ticket, and it comes back to my Dad’s house (car under his name.) At my behest, he writes a nasty letter on his law firm’s stationary stating he hasn’t been to the U.T. campus in 5 years and there must be a mistake.

Three weeks later we got a letter of apology and a cancellation of the ticket :smiley: :smiley:

“the ticket specifically noted I had an August ticket”

Umm, I mean an August PASS.