Heads Up – 2 Hour Parking Limit Enforced Even If Parking App Let’s You Add More Time

Photo by PoPville flickr user Katie Yaeger Rotramel

“Dear PoPville,

DC has parking time limits in many areas, but the ParkMobile app keeps letting you pay. Unfortunately, this resulted in a ticket. Sketchy on my part, perhaps, but I do find it ridiculous that the city continued to take my money through the app only to ticket me. I protested the ticket but lost and will pay it, since I’m a decent citizen (I guess), but frankly I see a serious problem here. Either the app can alert you that you can’t stay in the zone, or a ticket is unfair — can’t have it both ways.

Perhaps others have had a similar experience.


I heard back from ParkMobile; I emailed them explaining the situation and this is what they had to say when explaining that the app keeps allowing you to extend your time and pay: “Our zones are configured in the way DC dictates and they haven’t asked us to restrict parking for this regulation.” It seems the app has the technology…but DC chooses not to use it, I’m sure for their benefit.”

29 Comment

  • DC should have the app changed–but I personally have always assumed that exceeding the 2-hour limit would result in a ticket. This is just like feeding quarters into the meter to extend the time in the old days. Paying for 3 hours has never been an excuse to exceed the 2-hour limit.

    • west_egg

      Feeding the meter analogy = spot on.
      FWIW I’ve definitely encountered situations in the past where I would have liked to extend my Parkmobile session beyond 2 hours but have not been able to. In those instances I had to let session expire and then start a new session (fully aware that I’m taking my chances by flouting the regulations). So perhaps there’s been some kind of change? Sounds like it’s inconsistent at best.

    • Exactly. A meter would have kept taking your money. It seems like the more technology we get, the less common sense we use.

      • Some individual meters (and I think all meter stations) are configured so that they won’t take your coins/credit cards beyond a certain time amount.
        I’ve never used ParkMobile, but it seems like it would be sensible for it to act the way the meter stations do. Sounds as though the D.C. government just can’t be bothered to make it do so.

        • In my experience, Park Mobile works the same way. That is, if the spot is 2 hour restricted the most you can pay for in one go is 2 hours. But the app doesn’t keep you from buying another two hours once you’ve run the time down.

          • Ahh, OK. I was thinking that the OP was saying that he/she had been allowed to pay up front for (say) 3 hours in an area that had a limit of 2 hours, but it sounds like the scenario was more like old-fashioned meter-feeding in violation of the time limit.

  • Dude – take some responsibility. I’m tired of these posts. If you own a car..know the rules and regulations. You should know you have to move your car every two hours or pay for parking… Just because an app takes your money doesn’t mean you’re in the right. Own up to it. Being a good citizen also means knowing your responsibilities. Stop blaming DC for illegally parking.

    • I’m so tired of people who don’t have cars bashing on those who do. I use my car for business. Sometimes I need to stay in the same zone for more than 1 or 2 hours. These regulations try to force me to find a garage instead, which takes money away from the city, and is really inconvenient if my two hours of business isn’t in the same location but same zone. If the city wants to encourage people to do business, then it has to be accommodating for those of us who can’t travel by train or bus, and need to stay in the area for extended periods of time.

      • what? I have a car. I’m not bashing them for having a car. I’m bashing them for complaining about paying a ticket when it’s clear to everyone he broke the rule. You can keep your strawmen as well…I’m sorry you can’t take a bus or train. Pay for parking – if you have to stay for longer than the signs say, use a garage…If that isn’t accommodating enough for you – then take your business to Baltimore or Atlanta or Charlotte – that have the exact same parking rules/enforcement as DC…and you’ll have to find a garage or move every two hours.

        I’m not sure why business would want anything else. I’d like the turn over in parking if I owned a business.

  • park mobile restricts parking after the time limit in Arlington but in my experience if you alternate between the app and the meter you can park all day.

  • It sounds like the District simply isn’t configuring some of the parking zones consistently and/or correctly. Because there are definitely some zones on Parkmobile in DC where the app will limit you to two hours. There are also areas where it won’t allow you to pay for parking if you’re past the hours when it’s necessary to pay. But I’ve seen the opposite in both scenarios, so DDOT is doing something wrong.

  • Aglets

    Can we file this under ‘no shit, Sherlock’?

  • I believe the app assumes you have moved your car, but are within the same ParkMobile zone thus it doesn’t prevent you from extending or beginning another session within the same zone. The DC parking signs clearly state the amount of time you’re allowed to stay without moving your vehicle. The only way to avoid a ticket for sure is to move your car to a different spot.

    • Unless you’re one of those vans operating a sidewalk business in front of the CVS and Safeway on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan.
      I don’t know if they’re paying off the parking enforcement people not to ticket them or what, but last time I was in the area, they were definitely exceeding the four-hour (I think) limit.

    • For the most part, the zones are limited to 1 block or even just 1 meter. Moving your car won’t work, you can only park in one DC zone (not park mobile zone) for 2 hours.

  • I received a ticket this weekend when I had paid through ParkMobile. I was well within the time limit but still got a ticket and discovered today that I have to go through the standard adjudication process to protest the ticket. Have others had this problem? Am I crazy or shouldn’t this be something ParkMobile should deal with? Hearing all the horror stories about adjudication has me worried that somehow they would deny my appeal– and I would lose my mind.

    • This happened to me a few months ago. I just took a screenshot of my parking session from the parkmobile website, scanned it next to the ticket and highlighted the information showing I had paid at the time the ticket was written. It was thrown out no problem. It was a little irritating for sure, but easy enough to prove.

    • This has happened to me twice. One time I mistyped a digit for the license plate of a rental car, one time I mistyped a digit for the Parkmobile zone that I was parked in. Both were dismissed after I submitted screenshots that I had actually paid through Parkmobile. Took about 10 minutes to submit the disputes online.

  • Does ParkMobile notify DC that someone has paid for additional time beyond the limit? Or does DC have access to info to deduce this?

    • I’m assuming parking enforcement came by, scanned his plate, and when it came by 2 hours later it was still there. Easy to do with current technology.

  • DC hasn’t meshed up well with ParkMobile for awhile now. Earlier this summer I was ticketed even though I had legally paid using ParkMobile. When I appealed the ticket and attached the receipt as proof of payment, the DMV refused to overturn the ticket explaining I had not provided sufficient evidence. Go figure.

  • I did this once outside the convention center for an event I was working and didn’t have time to keep searching for parking. I was very aware I was testing my luck and knew the rules. My question is…

    Would you get a larger amount fine, or possible tow for not paying the meter at all? In my situation, I knew I could get a ticket, but couldn’t be late, so I figured paying the meter, as well as, a $25 ticket may be cheaper than the consequences for not paying the mater at all..

  • One time I go a ticket for exceeding the two hour time limit even though I drove around the block and parked on the adjacent cross street. Not sure how far out from your original parking spot the restriction extends.

    • Was this for a metered space, or a zoned space (like Zone 1)?
      If it was a zoned space, the 2-hour time limit applies to the entire zone, not just a particular block.

  • From what I’ve seen, some meter maids enforce this rule, others do not…

  • My wife and I get around this by using our different accounts for the same car. When she has to drive to work on Penn. Ave she does the first 2 hours then texts me the space digits. I then use my app at the alotted time for a fresh 2 hours.

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