48 Comment

  • A friend of mine took my mother’s car to get inspected when she was hospitalized a few years ago (I don’t know how to drive).

  • We knew the parking enforcer for our neighborhood a few years ago. She was especially compassionate with my elderly neighbors. I’m confident she wouldn’t have given this car a ticket.

  • Since DC stopped doing safety inspections a while ago, it’s not like there’s any greater risk of an unsafe car on the road. Assuming that both tickets are for failure to display a valid inspection sticker, issuing one ticket would have been a little officious. Writing a second one is just mean. Yeah, there are bound to be commenters who say “but the law is the law.” Tautology aside, there’s also discretion. If I’m unloading groceries and using the No Parking space at the end of my block for a minute, our usual officer gives us a wave and we acknowledge that we’re moving in a minute. Technically he should give us a ticket, because we’re illegally parked. But he doesn’t because he’s reasonable. And maybe a little reason should have been applied here at least for a week or two.

    • You are lucky to have found a courteous parking officer. I’ve found that they are usually no-nonsense, by the book, power-tripping, ticket nazis. When I went to Maryland a few years back, I saw the meter maids and parking enforcement basically stalking meters and fire lanes. The apt I lived in on campus had zero drop-off areas for groceries or moving furniture within at least a few hundred yards. Everything was a fire lane and the moment you parked and left your car, you’d have a ticket. I got a ticket from an actual UMPD officer for parking in a fire lane in the middle of the summer when the campus was basically empty. Ironically though, whenever I see a car in DC that was parked somewhere blocking an alley or even the actual street, the meter maids are nowhere to be found. Scum of the earth, as far as I’m concerned.

      • justinbc

        “ticket nazis”
        What other job can you think of where the people who do it as they’re supposed to are so castigated? Your attitude towards people who have to deal with people like you all day is reprehensible.

        • +1. I feel bad for parking enforcement. Not saying the OP doesn’t have a case, but I’m sure parking enforcement have heard every excuse in the book, had every explicative thrown at them in the course of their day-to-day job. Can you imagine going to work every day just hoping someone doesn’t accost you and call you a horrible person? It must be terrible and demoralizing.

          • justinbc

            So many times I’ve seen these people get accosted by random passersby just because they can’t stand the sight of someone getting ticketed, it has to really suck. Can you imagine what a #$%show DC streets would be if there weren’t someone going around keeping the selfish parking pricks in check? You would never be able to get anywhere.

          • I know. They’re just doing their jobs and they take so much crap for it. I always try to smile at them and thank them for ticketing people when those people are parked in a place that endangers others. As a cyclist I have a lot of challenges with double parked cars (my personal favorite being when there is a large open space IMMEDIATELY NEXT TO where they are double parked) and cars parked in bike lanes etc. etc.), and I want these guys to know that I’m happy they’re doing their jobs. I don’t think people in these jobs are typically authorized to exercise much discretion because one person’s discretion is another person’s government corruption.

        • “comment nazis”
          What other job can you think of where the people who do it as they’re supposed to are so castigated? Your attitude towards people who have to deal with people like you all day is reprehensible.

        • Oh please. Parking enforcement employees don’t help their cause with their obnoxious attitudes, like the one recently that refused to stop strolling down the middle of Ontario in Adams Morgan as I was trying to move past a stopped vehicle. The one wearing her cloverleaf-shaped St Patricks Day glasses — real professional. Also, I have little sympathy when DC configures parking — one side resident only, one side 2 hour parking, inconsistently applied throughout the neighborhood — explicitly to trip people up and increase their revenues. When it’s treated like a scam don’t expect any respect.

          And as for all the things this person could have done to avoid this situation, or how thoughtless/entitled people are, here’s a suggestion: the next time you stroll out of your house and see your car is basically taking up two spots, how about crossing the street and moving your car forward to open a spot for someone else? If you can’t bother to do that, you are as entitled/thoughtless as the people you complain about.

          • justinbc

            If someone’s sunglasses are the least professional thing you would associate with St. Patrick’s Day in a city full of rampant, drunk, “professionals”, then bless your heart. You also seem wholly confused as to who makes decisions regarding parking signage and who gets charged with enforcing those decisions. Reading is not a scam, use some civic responsibility and don’t just assume that where you’re parking is OK.

        • Seriously! “Scum of the earth”??
          .
          My dad was planning to drive here to visit me, but since I don’t have a car, I wasn’t sure about the rules for a visitor’s permit. So when I saw a parking enforcement officer on the street, I walked up to him to ask. Before I even started talking, he gave me the most tired look I’ve ever seen, but once I said, “Good morning, I wonder if you could help me with…” his face lit up. No wonder. He’s been verbally abused by too many DRCs who brand him “the scum of the earth.” (Seriously! I cannot get over the fact that someone would say that about a person doing their job! Makes me almost want to give him/her a hug to try to help them get past whatever is really making them so angry.)

      • I’m not a “BUT RULES” kind of person and I park illegally all the time but pretty much everyone who parks illegally has a “good” reason/excuse. If parking enforcers were all bleeding heart rubes who took every sob story to heart they’d barely write any tickets.

    • Sure, the OP could have had some compassion, especially after the first ticket but parking illegally because you will “only be a minute” is still illegal and still causes traffic disruption. There is a takeout place at the corner of our block and its customers regularly park illegally because they “will only be a minute”. When dozens of people do this continuously for hours it causes a problem. There is often a reason why some spots are not legal parking places — in this case it’s too close to the intersection and it means cars can’t get in or out of the block easily.

      Of course, if I don’t move my car within 30 seconds of the start of street cleaning I get a ticket, but try and get the cars blocking entrance to the block day in and day out ticketed and it’s like banging your head against a brick wall. I’m all in favor of parking enforcement stepping down on idiots who think that their need for takeout (or unloading groceries, furniture etc) beats the needs of everyone else.

      • phl2dc

        “I’m all in favor of parking enforcement stepping down on idiots who think that their need for takeout (or unloading groceries, furniture etc) beats the needs of everyone else.”
        .
        +1, especially the groceries part. Get yourself one of those shopping carts with wheels. Park your car and wheel your stuff back to your place for crying out loud.

  • Don’t start crying yet. This person could enter these tickets through the adjudication process, and probably wouldn’t have to pay them. It’s an easy online form.

    • To me this is clearly the correct course of action. Parking enforcement should ticket when they see violations. If there are mitigating circumstances, those should be left to a trained adjudicator to assess. The car owner can contest the ticket online, via mail, or in person. In my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, these adjudicators are not allergic to voiding a parking ticket should sufficient evidence exist for them to do so.

      Though if everyone agrees that a dashboard note should inoculate car owners from parking tickets….well I’ll be right back, got to go grab some paper and a pen

      • Exactly, the ticketing officer is simply doing what they are trained to do, they are really not supposed to be making “judgement calls”. The judgement call is for an adjudicator to do. And what about context? What if this person’s car just HAPPENED to be parked right in the middle of a stretch of street that someone from out of town had reserved for their moving truck? What if the hospitalization just happened to have occurred the day before the moving truck arrived? What if the fact that one car was there, forced the homeowner to have to reschedule?

      • Hahaa….yeah, I was thinking this would be an easy way to avoid ever getting a parking ticket!
        .
        A few years ago I was travelling and had forgotten to renew my registration. I did it online the day it expired but had no way to print out the temporary registration. When I got home, I had three tickets for not renewing my registration. I submitted a copy of my email receipt, showing I had paid up on time, to the adjudication office and all three were voided. In my limited experience with parking tickets (this time and a suspected ROSA violation), I’ve found DC to be very fair.

    • Absolutely, the parking enforcement person is simply doing their job. It is ultimately up to a judge (perhaps?) or an adjudication process to fully enforce the ticket or not. With the right amount of documentation, and some reasonable jurisprudence, seems like the person will likely get the ticket expunged.

    • you could look at the flip side — tickets could have led to the car being impounded in addition to the fines (if ticketed everyday it may be cheaper but would require a bunch of fines first). Being hospitalized provides pretty air tight documentary evidence for adjudication. The court could ask why the owner didn’t renew earlier to avoid this potential scenario, but I suspect they’ll reduce or toss out the fines.

    • I successfully appealed some unjust parking tickets in the 2000s, but my appeal for the last one I received (in 2012) was rejected, despite my providing photo evidence that the relevant sign was missing.
      .
      So I no longer have faith that the adjudicators will in fact overturn an unjust ticket.

      • Signs being missing are not a get out of jail free card, otherwise we would just incentivise people to tear down signs. Just because a sign is missing does not entitle one to park closer than 25 feet to an intersection, for example. If there was no sign on the entire block restricting parking, you documented it, and you did not get your ticket overturned, then indeed you were wronged by that decision.

        • It was a street-cleaning sign that was missing. (On a commercial block, not on a residential street.)
          .
          I parked directly next to a signpost that had two (or maybe three?) other signs regarding parking. It didn’t occur to me to walk down to the signpost 75 feet away to see if by chance it had any additional signs not featured on the first signpost.

          • It was metered parking during the day.

          • I mean, so that sucks, clearly, but the fault was with departmental policy that one sign per block is sufficient, not with the adjudicator failing to apply the proper standard.

            “Read the posted signage. Signs are not required to be posted every car length. Signs posted at the ends of the block are considered “anchor signs” and may govern the allowable parking for the entire length of the block.”

          • The signpost that was missing the street-cleaning sign WAS at the end of the block.

  • Ally

    I think a warning ticket (no fine) — of they can do such a thing — might have been the appropriate response here. Sympathies to the person who got ticketed. I know how hard it is to catch up on crud when you’ve been in the hospital for an extended stay.

    • Ally

      *If they can do such a thing

      • They do warning tickets in some situations. I know they do them for suspected ROSA violations, and I received a warning for parking with one wheel outside the designated parking area. I think they can program pretty much any ticket or notice they want into their machines.

  • On the flip side, how does parking enforcement know that the person is really in the hospital and not just lying in the note to get out of tickets? I am not saying the person might not have been the hospital, but how is one supposed to know based on the note.

    Also, they give you a bit of time to get things done. I know life can throw people for a loop which is maybe way people shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get things done just in case. I am not blaming the person getting the tickets, just that maybe people should look at the other side of things instead of just bashing parking enforcement all the time.

    • justinbc

      Yeah unfortunately the 3 tickets are covering the actual month of renewal on this Benz, so it’s hard to see whether it was due up in March before the hospital visit or April (would have to have been on April 10th, based on the only visible numbers). If it was on the 10th and they’ve already gotten 3 tickets and today is the 14th, with some typical lag from PoPville in the actual submission to posting date, I would say that’s unlikely and lean towards it actually expiring in March. If they can prove the hospital dates overlap with the expiration date then they should be able to appeal the tickets, although I can attest that can take quite a long time to accomplish.

    • “Also, they give you a bit of time to get things done. . . . I am not blaming the person getting the tickets,”
      .
      Well, I will. The car owner left the task of re-registration to the end of the effective period, something happened so that he couldn’t get it done, and now he (and others) are cranky that the parking cop didn’t take the “But I was in the HOSPITAL” note at face value? Please. It stinks, and perhaps 3 tickets is piling on, but this gets chalked up to “don’t leave things to the last minute.”
      .
      Now please excuse me, I have to go file my taxes.

  • My eyes are not good enough to see the date on the ticket, but think about this situation:

    Person is in hospital and receives tickets. Comes home to see these and writes a note saying they are now recovering at home, and will renew once they are able – as to prevent further tickets (leaving the ones to show the officer they have some already)

    Do we know that an officer has since added more tickets AFTER the note was written.

  • I’m confused if the tickets are for expired registration or expired inspection? Regardless DC notifies you MONTHS (at least 60 days) in advance of expiration so call me heartless but being hospitalized on the 7 days before expiration isn’t really a good excuse.

    • plus online renewal is really easy and it would be easier to argue expired stickers if registration was current on record. They give you another 60 days for inspection.

      • Interesting — I knew you get charged a late fee if you’re even one day late for inspection (I learned the hard way that the inspection station observes MLK Day on a Saturday), but you get a 60-day grace period on the ticketing front?

    • I usually get mine done early, but I noticed that the expiration dates are set to the date you get inspected. Meaning, if you go one month early each year, you only receive 11 months worth of valid inspection time, when you’ve paid for twelve. I moved into the District in March and had my first inspection/registration done in March. I’ve renewed twice now (every two years) and this year noticed that my renewal came due in January. So I waited until the very last possible day because I feel like DC is ripping me off.
      They should set my expiry date as two years past the current expiry date and NOT as two years from the inspection/registration renewal date.

  • Just throw a cover over that car. It seems that DC officials don’t know it is there if it is covered…even if it is illegally parked.

    http://www.popville.com/2015/09/as-long-as-the-cover-is-on-it-he-can-park-here-forever-because-ddot-and-mpd-dont-want-to-be-responsible-for-any-potential-damage/

  • Aw – I wish I knew owner of the vehicle. I’d gladly drive it to get it inspected for them!

  • I try to be compassionate and completely understand that situations come up beyond someone’s control, but there are so many people in DC who think they are special and the rules do not apply them that making exceptions without proof is not a reasonable expectation.

    Hospitalizations are not always planned, but if someone had the time to write a note, they also had the time to make a call and find out what they could do to ask for an extension or what recourse they have if they receive tickets (which they might have done – we don’t know).

    However, I think parking enforcement is one of the most thankless jobs out there and I am grateful for the work they do. I have seen first hand how much harassment they get from folks, including random people on the street. So many people simply park where they want without reading signs or caring.

    Yes, some of the signage is wrong or questionable or downright impossible to figure out, but they have a job to do and can’t give everyone a warning or let everyone off.

  • I usually write, for the windshield, “Just ran in to pick up my judicial robe.”

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