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Dear PoP – Parking Meter FAIL, literally

by Prince Of Petworth May 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm 18 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user Madame Meow

Ugh, this is frustrating. I know it’s not bike related but perhaps DDOT could take a second to look into this…

“Dear PoP,

Have you fielded any complaints from DC drivers regarding “self-correcting” parking meters? These are meters that may initially accept coins but then display an “out of order” message, and thereafter stop registering the deposit of additional coins. Drivers are left with the choice of finding new parking spaces or calling in the meters as broken. If a driver decides to call in the meter as broken, and leave, even for 10 minutes, the driver faces the risk that the parking meter will “self-correct” during his/her absence. “Self-correcting” means that a parking meter resets itself, showing “00:00”, as if no money had ever been deposited. According to a recent Washington Examiner article, 74 percent of the City’s meters are designed to “self-correct.” Here is the rub. The City’s meter enforcement officials ticket cars at meters that have self-corrected; to them, the cars appear to have been parked at functioning meters and that their drivers have not deposited the any money.

In my particular case, I deposited 75 cents at a meter outside Whole Foods on P St., NW. The meter then displayed out of order. I called the meter in as broken, was given a confirmation number by the City, and was told I could park at the broken meter for up to two hours. Returning to my car 15 minutes later, I found a $25 ticket. I appealed the $25 fine and the City rejected it, on the grounds that the City had checked for “complaints, outages or repairs during the time period the violation occurred” and had found none. In order to appeal that decision, DC regulations required that I pay the $25 fine and a $10 appeal fee. Last night I received a letter stating my payment was an admission of guilt and the City considers the case closed. I guess the City is now $35 closer to closing its several hundred million dollar budget gap…”

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