“Just hoping someone can help me clarify whether I’m in the wrong here or whether there’s a rule I can cite in contesting the ticket!”


Emergency No Parking restrictions?

“Can anyone tell me what the rules are re: where you can park in relation to Emergency No Parking signs? I’ve been trying to find this online and inexplicably can’t find the answer on any DC govt websites.

I imagine the rule is that you can’t park in between the signs, which is why they give you a whole bunch to post, and which makes sense. I got a $50 ticket on Tuesday for parking about 8 feet away from the 3rd of 3 signs; there was a construction dumpster solidly in between those signs, which is what the permit was for. The ticket says “Signs Posted; Signs Clearly Posted” …. yes – 8 feet away. Someone else parked there within minutes of my leaving the space, too.

Just hoping someone can help me clarify whether I’m in the wrong here or whether there’s a rule I can cite in contesting the ticket!”

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33 Comment

  • justinbc

    It’s 10 feet for a fire hydrant, maybe similar for “emergency no parking”? Although I’ve never seen anyone park that far away.

  • DC CapHill

    This is ‘Emergency No Parking’: http://dpw.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dpw/publication/attachments/DC_Parking_Regulations_2403.pdf

    This is ‘Temp and Emergency Parking Restrictions’: http://dpw.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dpw/publication/attachments/DC_Parking_Regulations_2407.pdf

    I don’t see a specific dollar amount or a numerical value in feet to say you can’t park as near as you did, or even nearer, as it doesn’t seem to be mentioned at all, as long as you are outside the signage area? The only thing I can think of is that someone before you tore down an adjacent sign to park there illegally, and the sign actually said the total number of “zoned” emergency spaces, and it didn’t add up, so you got the ticket?

    Did they at least give you a violation number to cite? I had to look mine up that way once, even after they refused to dismiss the ticket for referencing an incorrect location, license plate number, etc. They just figure people won’t have the time or inclination to fight them on their BS.

    • OP here – thanks for posting, PoP and commenters. No torn down signs – the sign closest said “1/3” and the others were 2/3 and 3/3. I thought the same thing so I did get a picture. Violation says P014 – Emergency No Parking – no luck so far googling additional specifics re: required distance before you can park.

  • phl2dc

    I would think that you should treat those the same way you’d treat other, permanent “no parking” signs – i.e., as long as you’re not between the signs you should be fine.
    I hope that you got a photo with a wider view that includes all the signs and your car and that you took a picture of the signs as well.

  • I know they didn’t site you for a dumpster violation but I suppose you could get a ticket for parking too close to the dumpster. People used to get tickets for this all the time in Chicago because you have to leave room for them to swing that back door all the way open and also allow the massive trucks access for dumpster removal. Just a thought.

    • Totally reasonable, but in that case the signs should be posted far enough apart to allow for this, right? Best part (aside from the 6 different cars I’ve seen parked there since last week) is that they parked a second dumpster right next to it for a couple days. No permits. I think they called to get me towed so they could put a second dumpster in the spot, but didn’t get any additional signs. Plus, the signs only say that you can’t park from 7am-5pm or something – sounds like it’s meant to be contractor parking and not weeks-long dumpster parking.

  • While it *might* be the permit owner’s fault for sign and dumpster placement, they may have complained that the swinging door to the dumpster couldn’t be opened because of your car, or even if it could, they couldn’t approach the opening with wheelbarrows, etc., and found a sympathetic parking officer. I agree that it’s probably an easy challenge if you document it well enough and submit it in the time required.

  • wmm

    I’d think in this specific photo, you need to provide enough room for the dumpster door to fully open (notice the hinge on the right), and allow for workers to access the dumpster. Still a bummer!

    • that shouldn’t be the case – it’s the responsibility of the dumpster permit holder and operator to place the dumpster so that there is adequate space for it to be accessed. if they need more room than the current space between the signage, then they should be getting more signs/paying for a longer permit. as long as this person is outside of the signs, this is bogus. wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen people given tickets like this, where the posted instructions or sign that are cited aren’t actually anywhere near the car.

      • +1.

        The dumpster person should have posted the sign with enough room to open the dumpster door. It isn’t OP’s responsibility. You should absolutely appeal, but I would be sure you take a photo to show that sign is the first and you’re not actually parked between other signs.

        • I’m the OP: also – there was enough room to open the dumpster door, even if this was a thing. Have pictures to prove it. Thanks for your comments.

  • I would think that as long as you’re parked beyond the sign, that should have been sufficient.
    If the dumpster people need x feet of space in order to swing the door open, then they should have allowed x feet between the sign and the edge of the dumpster.

  • Officially I think you can’t park in front of or between the signs. At least, that’s what a parking enforcement officer told me when I flagged him down on the street once. That said, that doesn’t mean that the signs were properly placed. I’ve gotten tickets when I definitely wasn’t between any signs.
    I’d contest it by saying that (1) the relevant sign was missing or obscured, and (2) the stipulated facts on the ticket are inconsistent or do not support the violation. (exact language from DMV) Follow that up with a detailed description of the area and as many photos as you can possibly take to back up the description. Might not work, but when I’ve copied the language verbatim and then used a description & photos to back it up I’ve gotten my tickets dismissed so it’s worth a try.

  • This happened to me last year. Emergency no parking signs were covering half the length of a block for a moving truck. I parked clear on the other side of the block with room for about 3 cars between my car and the closest no parking sign. When I got back to my car the next morning, I and 2 other cars outside of the no parking signs had tickets while the moving truck had plenty of room to do it’s job. I took a panoramic photo walking down the street showing just how far away I was from the sign, contested the ticket, and got the response that there was not enough evidence to show that the parking enforcer was in the wrong so I still had to pay.

  • If you look at the DC regulations, it doesn’t address any distance that you have to be from an emergency parking zone. http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/RuleHome.aspx?RuleNumber=18-2407
    2407-23 merely states:
    Whenever a sign is erected indicating that parking is prohibited or reserved under this section, it shall be unlawful to park any unauthorized vehicle in violation of the parking restrictions stated on the sign.

  • Always contest a ticket. ALWAYS. Just right a small novel in the comment section and they usually drop the ticket.

    • DC CapHill

      Agreed, in the most Hunter S. Thompson spirit possible. Make THEM go thru the motions.

      Also OP, did you call in the permit number to make sure that it’s current and valid? There was a time when my old neighborhood on the Hill was notorious for someone that must have swiped a stack of them from the local sub station, and marked them for their own personal use to make sure they had a parking space. Most just won’t mess with it, and drive on by without a second glance rather than tempt fate and a ticket, instead of doing their due diligence.

  • Something else to be aware of. I was parking on the hill the other day and there were tree work signs that look just like the emergency no-parking signs if you are not paying close attention. They actual specified a distance of 150 feet from the sign (tree). I doubt the same standard applies to the others, but make sure take a close look at the sign, since they are don’t look much different.

  • My rule of thumb, after many years in DC, is when in ANY doubt, find another parking space if you can. Spares you worry and maybe a ticket.

  • Are you sure you were ticketed based the Emergency No Parking signs and not some other restriction?

    • Yep, violation P014, emergency no parking. I wondered the same, but I’ve seen a bunch of other cars parked in the same spot with no tickets, so if I’m wrong, at least I’m not crazy for thinking it was a valid spot.

  • So I’ve renovated a few properties and know the rules on these dumpsters. Technically, when you get a space reserved, they give you a minimum of 66 feet. If you try to enter in less, that is the minimum you must enter to proceed with the permit application.

    I used to put my signs up as close to that 66 feet as I could. If I taped signs to cones or temporary posts, they disappeared or were ripped off more often than not. I’ve found that if I surround them with 5 or 6 layers of duct tape on all sides around a light or telephone pole or even a tree, they tend to stick. Get it?

    It could be the original dumpster owner’s general laziness to not have tried with some mobile signs, but I am assuming he’s gone through the same experiences I did and just put the signs on a permanent pole.

    Also, a tip: I’ve found that most people just throw the trash over the sides of the dumpster, so the swinging door isn’t a huge issue. But when a truck is called to pick up the dumpster, generally 24 hrs before or sometimes longer, the company charges the caller a $125 trip charge if the dumpster can’t be removed. So, their frustration with the situation isn’t without his own costs, but they should put cones down the morning of next time.

    Just a point of view from the bad guys side…

  • Had a similar situation with no parking for a special event just a few weeks ago. I happened to catch the parking person ticketing another car before she got to mine. She said (and I certainly remember this being true) that a few years ago, the signs clearly said right on the front something like “no parking within 25 feet in either direction of a posted sign”, but that when DDOT redesigned the signs a few years back to make them all computer printed (you used to have to fill in all the info with a sharpie pen) that part of the sign went away. Nowadays, I just go on the assumption that a full parking space should be between me and the sign, just to be safe.

  • That’s insane. Try talking to your councilmember; they really need to change the signs if it is true that you have to park a certain distance away from it.

    We had a dumpster parked on our street over the summer. The no parking signs implied that only 3 parking spaces were blocked off, but the builder/contractors spaced the signs so it looked like they were trying to block off 6 spots. FWIW – everyone ignored that and gave them exactly 3 spots, including me. I never received a parking ticket.

  • My rule of thumb is to park beyond the next tree or parking sign from the last one with an emergency no parking sign – so I can clearly indicate that I am in a space with no emergency no parking restrictions because the tree/post is empty and it would have a sign if it was in the restricted area.

    • I parked in front of a sign-less tree, and I know there were only 3 signs…. but I’m intrigued by the developer or contractor above that says it’s 66 feet minimum, because these signs were spaced exactly the length of the dumpster apart, and there were plenty of places to hang those signs on my car’s tree or elsewhere further away from the dumpster. So I’m intrigued to see what the reply to my ticket appeal is.

      If there is some unspoken rule about how many feet it’s required to be, I’ll take MtPresident’s advice about going to my councilmember to ask that they make it clear on the signs.

      In the meantime, no one else parking in that space has been ticketed over the last week.

      Thanks, all, for your help and advice!

  • It was my understanding from Public Works Office of DC that the signs are actually good for 20 feet on either side of the sign. So one sign is good for a 40 ft span of street parking closure. That is just the permit No Parking signs that you can purchase for $50 though.

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