Dear PoPville – Parking Enforcement Ticketing Based on a Bogus Parking Sign

kilbourne no parking sign.Oct 2013

“Dear PoPville,

ou would think that this car is legally parked, on the correct side of the signpost indicating no parking (and no standing) between it and the stop sign. I’m sure the driver thought he was doing the right thing. Okay, so it’s extending a bit beyond the signpost, but he’s certainly not obscuring the visibility of the stop sign, which is the purpose of the 25-foot minimum distance requirement (DC Municipal Regulations 18, 2405.2(d)).

kilbourne ticketed.Nov 2013

Oh, but take a closer look at that sign. Yes, it’s supposed to indicate no parking to its left, and neighbors tell me that’s what it’s been, until lately. Now a new arrow has been crudely added, indicating no parking in both directions.

Talk about a trap for the unwary! Drivers may not notice the added arrowhead, but Parking Enforcement has found it, and is happily inflicting $50 tickets on cars parked on what was the legal side of that signpost. Yes, it’s a stiff $50 fine, because of that “no standing” provision, which suggests that this quiet location — Kilbourne Place, a three-block-long residential street in Mount Pleasant — is a busy arterial, and anyone violating that parking ban is creating a serious safety hazard.

Where did that spurious arrowhead come from? Who put it there? Why does Parking Enforcement accept such an artificially modified sign as legitimate? We have enough parking problems without such costly “gotcha” traps being set.”

57 Comment

  • I’d venture this ticket was written not because of the bogus arrow, but because the driver of a very expensive vehicle can’t take three seconds to back up his/her car four feet to get on the correct side of a parking sign.

    • exactly. this person is violating the sign as originally installed – the added arrow is irrelevant.

    • This is my thought too. With the picture evidence, you could easily contest the violation of parking on the right side of the sign. However, the driver is unarguably butting out past the sign, and that infraction will likely lose in traffic court. Pay the man his $50.

    • There could have been another car behind him when he parked, preventing him from backing up any further. Usually you can be jutting out a few inches past the sign (honestly, who hasn’t done that before?) without being ticketed.

      • In Eckington, cars are parked completely on the wrong side of the sign and rarely get ticketed. I don’t get it.

      • ah

        I’ve parked illegally plenty of times without being ticketed. But if I had been ticketed, I wouldn’t be able to complain.

        • The price of the occasional ticket is way cheaper than paying a monthly parking fee. People will complain over the littlest inconvenience. It’s one of the costs of living in a dense city.
          If you want free reserved parking, move out to the ‘burbs!

        • I agree. I was just saying it’s probably more likely that the driver was trying to squeeze into a spot that was a little too small, rather than “the driver of a very expensive vehicle can’t take three seconds to back up his/her car four feet to get on the correct side of a parking sign”.

      • No, you can see a driveway there (or look on street view, N side Kilbourne @ 19th). Another car cannot fit.

    • That car is absolutely not violating the original parking sign. The rule is that your axel needs to be within the sign post. This car’s axel is within the legal parking limit.

      And what does have a ‘very expensive vehicle’ (which it’s not) have anything to do with this conversation?

      • I keep hearing about the axle rule from commenters on this site, but not one has actually pointed to me that this is true. I personally think it’s bogus and only park if my bumper is behind the sign.

      • The axle rule does not exist.

      • you’re full of crap. the entire car has to be behind the sign. axles are irrelevant.

      • I’m not a car person, so I could easily be mistaken, but that looks like a range rover. The median household income in the US is about $51,000. The land rover website says you can get last year’s range rover starting at $37,000, but a new one costs over $63,000. Maybe you have a different definition of very expensive for a car, but I think that qualifies. The reason it is relevant is that no one has sympathy for a person in a car that costs more than most families will earn in a year when they have to pay a $50 ticket.

      • I don’t really know what to say to a person who thinks that a car that costs more than the median annual income is not expensive except that I don’t really have a problem with someone driving a 60K vehicle getting a $50 parking ticket, especially when the person pretty clearly didn’t park behind the sign and is in fact violating the law.

    • Guys, you’re focusing on completely the wrong thing. For one, the angle of this photo makes it seem like the car might have actually been behind the pole and, two, it parking tight areas, it’s always been ok to put a couple of inches or so on the “wrong” side of the pole. When the alternative is parking a couple of feet away from the pole out of fear of being slightly over, it could be the difference on whether you can get a car on the block.

  • Peel it off in the middle of the night. Seriously. And keep peeling it off.
    Do you think the city added this? Or perhaps a neighbor added it in order to save “their” parking spot?

    • Maybe it was added by someone who felt that the alley was being blocked by folks parking there.

      • The spot is big enough for most cars. The SUV in the pic above could have easily fit into the spot, had they not been hanging in front of the sign.
        People are not allowed to unilaterally change street signs, simply because it’s more convenient for them and their alley. This honestly looks like one of the neighbors changed the sign to suit their needs.

        • ah

          +1. Probably don’t like looking out the window at cars. Or even though a car can park there, having to make a sharper turn out of the alley.

          If you don’t like it, get some rubbing alcohol and erase the extra arrow.

          • My guess is that someone is trying to save the spot for themselves, similar to the jerk in Le Droit Park who leaves massive flower pots in the street to stop other from parking in front of his house.

        • “People are not allowed to unilaterally change street signs, simply because it’s more convenient for them.”
          We recently had someone cut down three parking signs on the 1800 block of North Capitol NE because they didn’t like that it was changed to no parking during rush hour. The signs were cut down at the base and are still laying on the ground after I reported it to 311 over a week ago. It’s amazing what people feel they are entitled to do.

          • Surprised someone was able to saw off three parking signs on a street as busy as North Capitol without anyone noticing.

      • Or by someone that saw ppl getting ticketed EVERY DAY for not being 25 ft from a Stop Sign or 5 feet from an alleyway.

        Looks like someone was being a GOOD neighbor and fixing a sign that SHOULD have an arrow at both ends.

        • You don’t have to be 25 feet from a stop sign of there is a sign allowing parking closer. The more specific sign overrides the default rule. Same with the alley rule, although I don’t see a sign by the alley here.

  • ah

    Also, that sign is not even close to 25 feet away from the stop sign. More like 15 feet. Unless that Range Rover is 50% longer than normal.

    And, tip to SUV drivers: We can’t see around you! I know you think your cars are normal size and don’t obstruct anyone’s view. You are wrong. A normal car parked in this location, even one foot closer to the stop sign, wouldn’t probably obstruct it. But this huge car undoubtedly does obstruct visibility of the sign.

  • Slightly unrelated question here: In locations where there is both a parking sign and a parking area demarcated by a white lines, which is the legally enforceable marker? I’ve noticed that the two can be offset by a foot or more.

  • I think fines need to be proportional to the wealth/income of the person violating the law. $50 for someone driving a range rover is no big deal, but for someone making minimum wage it could be devastating.

    • and how should we judge this?
      based on the car they are driving?

      i hope not, because a lot of the times that guy in the range is worth far less than that other guy that just drove past him in a prius

      • Yeah, I know quite a few people that don’t make that much but drive fancy cars because they can only afford to live two hours outside of the city, and having a nice car makes the commute somewhat bearable.

      • I think we are all required to tell the government, both federal and state/district how much money we earn each year. That might be a decent way to start judging it.

  • Thats a bogus ticket either way imo
    ok, his bumper is hanging over a few inches… seriously lol

    i hope everyone saying he deserved the ticket would also accept speeding cameras handing out $25 tickets for being 1 mph above the posted speed limit

  • I just looked this up – it seems like you would be able to park ANY car in this spot due to the 25-foot rule for stop signs AND the 5-foot rule for alley and driveway entrances.
    It seems that the city need to get their act together and replace the sign completing, instead of utilizing an obviously fake fix by a neighbor.
    “No person shall stand or park a motor vehicle or trailer, whether occupied or not, in any of the following places (including for the purpose of loading or unloading materials), except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or at the direction of a police officer, traffic control sign, or signal; provided, that a vehicle may stop momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers:
    (a) In front of or within five feet (5 ft.) of an alley, public driveway, or private driveway;

    (d) Within twenty-five feet (25 ft.) of the approach side of any “STOP” or “YIELD” sign located at the side of the roadway;…”

  • Report it to 311. Then if DDOT doesn’t fix it you’ll have evidence to point to that you reported the sign as damaged. Sheesh.

  • Ha, that right pointing “arrow” is so weak! This has got to be the work of busybody neighbors who don’t want people parking in that spot. Whether the cars block the alley, the stop sign, or offend someone’s view, aggravations like this are par for the course in DC. The car owner should send in these photographs of a clearly altered sign and be done with it. No way that ticket should stand up to review.

  • I agree that the car is illegally parked, but I also agree that it seems like these signs get changed every so often in a suspicious and confusing way. For example, I am currently fighting a ticket for parking in a space in Adams Morgan. The ticket says I exceeded the time limit. Here’s my argument, the meter said it no longer accepted payment after 8:30pm; I parked at 8:45pm. All signs in the surrounding area say that there is 2 hour parking until 8:30pm, for which I would have cleared since I parked after that time. The section I was parked in, which consisted of two car spaces looked like it was similar to all the other signs, except it was for one hour and the end time had been taped over with a faded 10pm for which I did not think to get out of my car and inspect with a flashlight. Furthermore, this sign did not match the meter that was assigned to my parking space either. So, yes, there seems to be some very questionable and unethical practices taking place with regards to parking rule enforcement.

  • argue all you want re: the car was or wasn’t legally parked, but you will never beat the DC parking enforcement officers – they own you….. they own us all……

    • Right on, clearly the most well run operation in this town. When they slap you enough times for parking out past the sign, you finally will learn, or just pay more of their well intentioned tax. I say we give them seats in Congress…

  • Wow, what an unexpected response from the commentariat. I used to think it was “us vs. the man (parking enforcement)” but it seems a little more like “us vs. the man… who has a range rover” … ha.

    May you never find yourself a few inches past a parking sign or a few miles per hour over the limit, lest you be immediately ticketed – because justice.

  • Let’s set aside this matter of the car extending a short distance into the “No Standing or Parking” zone. The day before, it was a car parked well short of it, so that’s irrelevant.

    Fact is, nobody got such tickets at this location before the sign was “adjusted”. Now residents who used to park there regularly are being socked with $50 tickets.

    I have a hint that DDOT did it, in a flurry of concern about visibility at alley exits. On another street, they moved the no-parking signs from the legislated 5 foot distance to 20-25 feet, wiping out four curbside parking spots, for the benefit of the handful of residents with private garages along that alley. That policy will do marvels for parking in our high-density inner city.

  • This issue (including a reference to PoPville) made the Channel 4 News last night,

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