“I was parked within the white boxes which I assumed designate legal parking, I also question why there is an officer ticketing my car at 3:00am”

Photo by PoPville flickr user BrennaLM

“Dear PoPville,

For two nights in a row, I’ve received a parking ticket for $50 while parked in front of my house for being parked less than 25 feet from a stop sign. (Mind you, these tickets are being issued at 3:00 am on a highly residential street in Truxton Circle where parking is only a problem on Sundays). A tow was requested. Both times I was parked within the white boxes which I assumed designate legal parking areas. Since my only parking option is street parking, I contacted DPW to get them to tell me how I could park “legally” so I can avoid getting the same ticket tonight. According to the woman on the phone, the white boxes were not painted by DPW (???) and mean nothing. One must be 25 feet from the stop sign even if the white box is painted closer. Is this real? 25 feet is quite a large distance and, being a life long DC resident, I would venture to suggest that cars on almost every street in the city could be ticketed for that same offense while being parked within the white boxes.

The woman further suggested that the only way I could get an additional explanation would be to adjudicate the tickets, but having gone through that process several times before (with mixed results), I can positively state that decisions are given without explanations.

As a side note, I also question why there is an officer ticketing my car at 3:00am for this type of offense on a residential street where parking is not an issue (note this is the 4th ticket we’ve gotten at similar hours from the same officer). Not exactly the best use of my taxpayer dollars, but perhaps that is the subject of another email.

Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.”

48 Comment

  • Sucks. I’ve got those tickets before. You wont have any luck fighting it.

    Parking too close to stopsigns really is dangerous, because it makes it difficult to see who/what’s coming along the sidewalk ready to cross.

    • Accountering

      These things are bogus. I got this ticket in front of my house in Petworth, and called 311 and got a “No parking past this sign” put up. The sign was put up 15 feet from the stop sign. What a joke.

      • At the same time, there is a stop sign at the end of our street, back from that is a space about the size of a parking spot, then a driveway, then the “no parking beyond this sign” sign. And people are constantly parked in the empty space between the driveway and the stop sign with seeming impunity, despite it being no more than 4-5 feet from the white line (I say this because it’s often the same car, no diplomatic plates or anything, so I assume they’re not just parking there and not caring).

      • You’re a better citizen than I am. When I got that ticket, I went out with a tape measure and some spray paint and made a little mark on the curb indicating 25 feet.

      • I live at New Hampshire and V NW. At the NW corner of this intersection (on New Hampshire) parking is allowed 3 feet from a stop sign bc there is a sign. At the NE corner (on V) there is no sign and tickets are issued for cars parked within 25 feet even though the stop sign itself is not positioned at the intersection. I have spoken to parking enforcement informally when i see them out and about. They told me a sign overrules a statute (like the 25 feet one). I would petition to get a sign to overrule the ambiguous markings. I think that the city likes ambiguity bc it allows them to make a ton of $$$.

      • Said the guy who always posts ‘obey the law’ and ‘gov is right’ in every speed camera POP post… @accoutering //hypocrisy.

        • Is it any surprise that a double-standard applies when it’s HIS money on the line?

        • I think you’re missing the point — Accountering was complaining that DDOT posted the sign in the wrong place (15 feet from the stop sign instead of 25 feet). That’s not inconsistent with his viewpoint on speed cameras.

  • A snapshot would have helped.

  • “Not exactly the best use of my taxpayer dollars”??? $50 revenue from a few minutes of work is quite the ROI.

    • just a guess that OP meant the tax dollars to pay a parking ticket agent to work at 3 am (maybe even overtime?) for something that (apparently) hurts no one…

      personally i’d prefer a better ambulance service over some workers giving out parking tickets where they matter the least (residential vs. downtown)

    • If they cared about ‘easy money’ then they’d come ticket and tow cars when they parked in my reserved street parking during my move – but 4 calls to the police and 311 got exactly zero officers to come out. GAH.

      • Next time that happens, you call 911 and tell them that the car has been there for 8 hours (tell a little white lie). If the car is recently parked, they won’t come as they assume it will be moved shortly. Make it seem like it’s been illegally parked for many hours.

  • 25 ft is a rule. But it depends on if there is another sign present that expressly “overrides” it. See comments and laws posted on a previous thread here in PoP.


  • Good luck! The same officer tickets my legally parked work car all the time. The amount of discretion dpw officers have is absurd. They enforce signs when they see fit, as well as make up rules and issue tickets to again, legally parked vehicles. I’ve had countless conversations with the officer, her supervisor & area coordinator, to no avail. There’s a pending ticket in the kitchen drawer waiting to be paid for this very reason…. Oh the joys of DC living.

  • DC1

    Take it as an expensive lesson. Unfortunately fighting it will end up costing you more (if you add all the ‘administrative’ fees).
    Sounds like the parking enforcement officer found a gold mine in your neighborhood.

  • There’s a consolidated blitz on. As I ranted about this morning, my block was carpeted with tickets for anyone with any old out of state inspection/registration stickers, even if displaying completely valid DC registration/RPP/inspection. (Ticket claims no valid DC inspection AND has tow requested.) Nothing I can find in code saying old stickers are illegal, as long as visibility is not obscured. So mad, if you legitimately need more revenue charge me more for my registration/RPP to my face instead of trumped-up make-work tickets.

  • PDleftMtP

    Yep. That’s the law. I’ll post a link, but I think it’ll have to get moderated first.

  • I would recommend fighting every single parking ticket you get. It takes 5 minutes online and there’s no harm in doing it.
    I’ve had tickets thrown out that I never would’ve imagined would have been.
    Take a picture of your car parked within the white lines facing away from the stop sign. It might work if you get the right examiner.

    • Totally agree. No guarantee they’ll dismiss it, but as loosey goosey as they are with issuing tickets they can be just as loosey goosey with dismissing tickets – all depends on which DC govt illuminati reviews your case.

  • Without getting into the ridiculousness and enforcement of the 25 foot regulation, parking officers are usually out at that hour to enforce ROSA violations

  • Better pay it before you file your taxes if you’re getting a DC return. My fiancee received a ticket about 4 months ago and we appealed it. I have been checking and checking, but haven’t heard anything. We filed our taxes last week and she received a letter saying they stole the $50 from her DC tax return. LOL, if she was behind on paying it I would understand, but we haven’t even heard back about the appeal!

  • Not trying to be a jerk but you said parking is not an issue in your neighborhood except on Sundays so why did you choose to park in the same spot after you’d gotten a ticket there the previous night?

  • There is a block in Kalorama that has no sign marking the end of the parking zone. Almost every single day I see someone get a “within 25ft of a stop sign” ticket. I usually warn people if I happen to see them parking. Why would DC bother putting up a clear signs as to where the end of the parking zone is when they can make at least $50 a day off that parking spot? It isn’t the parking monitors that give tickets either, it is regular DC Police, as I imagine this was at 3:00am.

  • This city is worse off because of people like you

  • DC needs to explain to you why the white line exists if they are claiming they didn’t paint it. I would have followed that logic as well, figuring someone did the measurements for me.

  • The parking officers have quotas they have to fill; in the case of contradictory rules or laws, they will follow the one that allows them to write the ticket. Once it’s written, they will not change it and will tell you to protest it if you don’t like it. Their supervisors don’t care, because the city administrators have no interest in reducing the City’s revenue. Remember: the city is in debt this year. Consider it another tax necessary for city living and move on; or else, ditch the car and use legs.

  • You must not have much happening in your life if you’re regularly calling to get people ticketed at three AM.

  • It’s because literally the only thing the DC government can do effectively is ticket cars, regardless of if the tickets are warranted or not.
    “That’s worked pretty well for us…”

  • A neighbor told me that we have another neighbor who is a parking officer, and when it’s the end of the reporting period this person goes out around the local blocks at night to fill quotas.

  • I don’t think I have seen a legally parked ‘parking enforcement officer’ in my entire life. When can we start ticketing them? They compete with UPS trucks for prime spots in the bike lane.

    • Yes, parking enforcement officers should spend their time driving around looking for a legal space before they park to write tickets. Police, fire, and ambulances should also only park in legal spots when they are responding to a call. You do realize how absurd this is, right?

      • You realize how absurd it is to compare firefighters and ambulances to parking enforcement, right?

        • No, I don’t. They are all city workers who are doing jobs that require them to be mobile and address issues when and where they occur, not where it’s convenient to park legally. It’s absolutely idiotic to think parking enforcement would drive by an illegally parked car, then drive around for 20 minutes to find a legal parking space before they walk back to try and ticket that car. Of course they are going to park in what would be an “illegal” space for an average resident, and ticket the nearby illegally parked cars. That’s efficient and is a good use of their time. Do you want to pay parking enforcement to drive around looking for a place to park?

          • Police, fire, and ambulances are emergency services. They are often time critical, and their urgency almost always supercedes the traffic they are blocking. That is not even close to true with parking enforcement. Also, they don’t drive around looking for illegally parked cars. They are supposed to park their car in an area and walk around. It’s only the lazy ones that drive their car from block to block.

          • You’re missing the point. Having no parking restrictions at intersections provides an efficient means for people who need to park quickly in order to do their jobs, without parking in the travel lane and blocking traffic. This could be cops on a non-emergency call, but it would also include parking enforcement, USPS, etc. My mail man parks his vehicle at the end of our block in the “no parking” area and doesn’t get ticketed. I’m fine with that – he would waste hours a day if he had to park legally every time he stopped.

      • Why the help not?

        That IS what they expect everyone else to do.

  • i got a ticket yesterday for being literally a foot – a FOOT! into the meter behind me. there was a driveway entry in front of me, so i made sure i was completely behind the no parking —> sign and i guess i went several inches into the space behind me, not that there designated lines drawn on the street or anything (this is on I st. at 5th at 7am). ticket was for taking up two spaces even though there was at LEAST another 10 feet behind me. RIDIC.

  • I wish they would come out and ticket in Truxton Circle on Sunday’s. The church folks pay no attention to parking signs at all. I’ve seen cars parked all the way up to the stop sign at first and P.

    • I think it’s quite telling about the DC government that they won’t crack down on Sunday parking shenanigans. The illegal parking is so blatant, as is the blind eye from the DC government.

      • The people attending church in that area are the parking attendants themselves (or their relatives). You don’t hurt your own.

    • As a fellow Truxton resident, I agree – Sundays are the worst! But I see daily parking violations on my block and never see a ticket – or even a parking enforcement officer! I feel so bad for this person’s ticket after parking within the lines. People regularly park behind the “no parking signs” and it makes it very difficult for me to get out of my driveway on a regular basis.

  • and yet MPD won’t ticket cars perpetually parked past the Do Not Park signs in front of the auto parts and liquor stores on Georgia Avenue and Emerson Street NW after years of repeated emails and requests; they create blind spots for people crossing the intersection on foot and in vehicles.

  • Ah i got this same ticket in Mt. Pleasant, I was 21 feet from the stop sign instead of 25 🙁 so close but so far

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