“Can individuals really post signs 12 hours in advance for a “party” and subject citizens to ticket and towing charges and fines?”

by Prince Of Petworth June 27, 2016 at 11:15 am 67 Comments

parking signs

“Dear PoPville,

I noticed from my window (Friday @ 8:24pm) people were posting signs. I couldn’t see what the signs said from my window but I took a picture of them anyway. This morning [Saturday] on my way to the airport I checked out the signs. They are all down the 1300 block of R st NW for “emergency” no parking with a reason “Shinola Detroit block party” starting Saturday at 9:30.

Can individuals really post signs 12 hours in advance for a “party” and subject citizens to ticket and towing charges and fines?”

  • MVT

    So you can post the signs but it is my understanding that the sign has to be posted 3 days prior for people to get ticketed and towed.

    • Erin

      Agreed. When we moved, we got emergency no parking signs and there are explicit instructions that the signs must be posted 72 hours in advance to enforce ticketing/towing.

      If you feel so inclined, you could offer your photos as proof that this didn’t happen if anyone receives a ticket. But that means getting involved with a LOT of other people’s business! Not necessarily desirable for sure

    • BSN

      And I thought that with ’emergency no parking’ signs you had to have a police officer verify that they were actually put up 3 days in advance.

      • Yeah, there is a whole process to follow to get them verified–you have to follow that process and get a confirmation number in order to get cars ticketed and towed. (Just did this a few months ago when I moved.)

      • This is true. When I got a moving truck, I had to post the signs with 72 hours notice as well as call parking enforcement and have someone come out and verify they were posted.

      • TwoWheelsDC

        That’s the rule, yes. My wife and I moved at the beginning of May and we were told in no uncertain terms that we had to call as soon as the signs were posted so someone could come out and verify they were placed properly, and we had to call no fewer than 72 hours before the no parking went into effect.

    • LucyChong

      This is true in theory, but false in reality. I posted my signs 3 days prior, but thought parking enforcement office was closed on Sunday, so called too late for them to come out. (the hours of operation was wrong on the instructions). no one came out to check on my signs. When someone was illegally parked in my spot, I called 311 and they were ticketed. I ended up finding a spot for my truck, and I’m not a dick, so I didn’t tow them.

  • M

    Yes, because Shinola is a business and I would assume they took the proper steps to ensure they had the correct permits etc.

    • ExWalbridgeGuy

      So I’m just curious what exactly it is you do for a career if you assume that businesses always figure out exactly the right permits to get from their local government? (I’d neither assume that all businesses are particularly competent nor that the government rules for the permits are remotely clear/consistently explained.)

      • textdoc


      • wobber


    • GM

      You’re funny.

    • palisades

      M you’re a crazy cat

    • New to DC?

    • Rich

      Being ironic? Or just libertarian.

      • Anon

        There’s much difference?

        • anon

          Libertarians are more preachy and take themselves more seriously = greater annoyance IMO

  • Anonamom

    Our block used to do a block party complete with emergency no parking. In order to get permission, they need a petition with the signatures of I believe 70% (or maybe 70 people?) of the people who live on the affected block. We had no parking for 12 hours.

  • textdoc

    I think the requirement is 24 hours in advance for commercial parking spaces and 72 hours in advance for residential parking spaces.
    Either way, it looks like the Shinola people didn’t meet the requirement. Report ’em to (I think?) DDOT.

  • Caitlin

    You also have to call a number (printed on a separate piece of paper) when you actually post the signs, they give you a confirmation number (and presumably come by to see that you actually have posted them). Without this confirmation number, the cops won’t tow anyone, and they will only reluctantly write tickets, and you have to really emphasize that you did indeed post 72 hours in advance. I’ve screwed myself before by paying for the signs, printing them, and posting them, without noticing that you have to call this number, and had my spaces blocked on moving day and the police refused to do anything.

  • petworther

    They can put the signs up, but unless you call to have an inspector verify placement 72 hours in advance, DDOT will not ticket or tow for you.
    I’ve put them up with less notice before and not had any issues. There’s nothing shady about it, and it would be kind of a d!ck move to park there just because you know they didn’t give proper notice. That said, if there are cars that remain (many people park their cars for days at a time) the have no recourse for moving them.

    • textdoc

      Interesting that you approach this from the point of view of the party-holder placing the signs with inadequate notice. How is it not “shady” to put signs up with less notice than required? And why the assumption/implication that the OP wants to park there “just because [he/she] know[s] they didn’t give proper notice”?

      • dcd

        Agreed, you can’t separate the legality of enforcement with the propriety of putting up the signs.
        “would be kind of a d!ck move to park there just because you know they didn’t give proper notice.”
        Without the required notice, parking is legal there. The signs have all the force and effect of some yahoo putting out plastic cones or lawn chairs. But they represent to people coming by that it actually is illegal to park in the spots, when it isn’t.
        Apart from this, I really question the propriety of allowing a for-profit business block off parking for a marketing event. Neighborhood block party, holiday soiree (Halloween on Hobart, for example), those are all fine with me. But some retailer wants to get more people into the store, and so blocks off residential parking? Sorry, I think the permit should have been denied in the fist place.

        • neighbor

          How is this different from, say, blocking of parking for construction? Or a farmer’s market? Or a food truck?
          Also, I understand YOU think they shouldn’t have posted them up, but that’s not the guidance from DDOT. DDOT says you can put them up, they just won’t ticket. While your bizarre blowhard NIMBY moralizing is interesting, it happily carries no legal weight.

          • textdoc

            DDOT isn’t the agency that gives tickets — it’s DPW (or MPD, in emergency situations). Given how D.C. agencies communicate with each other (or fail to), I don’t think one can assume that DPW isn’t going to ticket based on a no-parking sign that wasn’t posted far enough in advance.
            There’s no “bizarre blowhard NIMBY moralizing” in DCD’s post — just an expectation that people — businesses as well as individuals — should follow the rules. Rules that are in place TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR EVERYONE TO WORK TOGETHER.

      • neighbor

        It’s not shady because it’s not illegal. If they paid the fees they have the right to put them up. And in commercial parking areas (meters) this is going to be effective 99% of the time. But if someone does park there Shinola won’t be able to get them towed.
        Honestly if baffles me why so many people are put out by this. The only party injured by late sign posting is the party posting the signs (because they cannot get tows). Or perhaps you were planning to park at a meter next to Shinola on Saturday, and went on Thursday to verify there were no temporary no parking signs posted? Only to arrive Saturday and find the WERE THERE? Thinking of the shock and disappointment you must have felt overwhelms me with sadness.

        • textdoc

          “The only party injured by late sign posting is the party posting the signs (because they cannot get tows).” Not if the people who parked there get ticketed.
          And even if they don’t get ticketed, they’re stuck with either not being able to move their car for a day (if the car is left in place) or having the car “courtesy towed” to a location that might result in the car being subsequently ticketed.

    • ah

      Your view is at most legitimate for people parking after the sign is posted. What about someone who parks there before the sign is posted and leaves for the weekend? No way should they get a ticket. And they shouldn’t even face the hassle of disputing the ticket.

  • Anon

    Oh man – this was a great party! Thanks, inconvenienced neighbors!

  • CVR

    Considering the cops had an official detour going mid-morning until the end of the party with all access to the alleyways and R blocked off I’m going to say this is ok.

  • Coraline

    This seems super sketchy to me. Shinola Detroit is a business. The so-called block party is in a parking lot 2 blocks from the store location. And I do know that you are not supposed to hang those signs off street sign posts. There advertising for this event also says food is not free. Not really much of a block party. I didn’t know DC allowed random people to block off streets for advertising and sales events.

    • Resident

      So I visited this party and (1) it was right across the street from Shinola, not two blocks away and (2) they had some free food and drink, and some that was for sale. There was free music and games for kids though. Sounds like it is fair to call it a block party. This was not in a “random” location but right across from the store.

    • CatieCat

      What do you mean 2 blocks? The party was literally outside of their store at 14th and R. They had a band or dj set up in an empty lot literally across the street, and had dope vendors (and free watermelon) halfway down R street.
      I have no strong opinion on the parking sings (except that i hope if people got towed it was a free courtesy tow), but it seems like your comment is a little off the mark.

      • 18th Street

        WTF is a “courtesy tow”? How about leaving my car where I legally parked it?

        • Roger Dorn

          It’s when they tow your car but not to the pound, but rather around the corner or down the street to get it out of the restricted area. Usually happens during Rush Hour when they are clearing cars from one lane or the other. It’s fun trying to find your car after that since they usually have no effing clue where they put it.

          • neighbor

            I’ve had it happen for an Obama visit (to Mintwood Place). No time for a 72 hour notice but they have to clear the cars. No ticket, no two fee, you just have to find your car.

        • CatieCat

          I mean i agree, this scenario is ridiculous, but I’ve seen instances when, for example, Pepco has some emergency repairs and dont have time to put up the signs in advance, and cars will get towed around the corner or something without a fine.

      • I know they passed a possession law, but now they’re bringing in dope vendors? DC really is trying to get progressive, huh?

        • CatieCat

          I’m from California, forgive me!

    • CatieCat

      Also, its *Their advertising.

      • CatieCat


        • Anon

          * it’s

        • Anon

          I love when the grammar police falls on his/her face writing a ticket.

          • CatieCat

            Pop we should be able to delete our comments!!! lolz my bad. that was some serious internet karma right there! whoops

      • nctowashington

        You also need to work on your grammar and punctuation in each comment you made on this thread ;)

        • Anon

          …and spelling

  • special events

    In their defense, I have had to get special event permits and have started the permitting process MONTHS in advance to only have DCRA issue the permits at the very last minute. They may have put them up as soon as they were able to actually get them from the city.

    It doesn’t make it fair for the folks that have to move their cars so understand the frustration but maybe the Shinola foks could have done everything right and still not got them up in time.

  • John

    Are you sure it’s for Shinola? The bearded guy isn’t even wearing an expensive watch!

    • Anon

      He clearly works there and can’t afford to waste money on their grossly overpriced wares.

    • TJ

      Shinola doesn’t sell expensive watches. Overpriced, maybe, but expensive watches cost thousands and thousands of dollars and are made in one particular mountainous European country.

  • Admo_Anon

    I actually was ticketed this weekend for parking in front of a sign for a moving truck, even though they had not been posted when I parked the night before. If you look at the sign, it tells you the date it was printed (in this case it was the day of for the event). I still got ticketed for $50 for parking in an emergency spot, which I am going to contest.

    • Definitely contest it–take pictures-I got out of a ticket for the very same reason by showing the photos of the signs and when they were printed.

    • tom

      I’m sure you’ll easily get out of it, but it’s a shame you’re going to have to spend so much of your personal time fixing something that wasn’t your fault, and it may take weeks or months to get back to you that you’re in the clear. Just saying I feel your pain.

  • neighbor

    This seems like a nice, fun thing for the neighborhood. They gave away some free stuff, did some promotion, and offered activities for kids. It makes the district more fun and lively, and attracts other business. Why on earth are people so upset they may not have precisely followed some aspect of the parking guidelines, in particular when, as far as I can tell here, there is no actual injured party in this instance.
    Ask them nicely to put the signs up on time next year, and make them pay if they require any courtesy tows. Then move on with life.

  • Anon Parking Animal

    There’s the law, and then there’s reality. Sure, you’re supposed to pose the signs three days in advance, and sure the police are supposed to verify that. But how often does that happen? I’ll guarantee you that the DDOT would have ticketed cars in front of those signs no matter when the signs went up, putting the burden of proving their non-validity on the ticket-ee. Once again this pushes the burden of proof/effort to the “little guy” (or girl), with DC raking in more money. As far as towing, I’d be curious to know if anyone got towed and how much the city reaped from it.

  • Anon

    I live on that block and Shinola contacted us about a month ago seeking permission to have the block party. They needed consent from a certain number of homeowners, presumably to be able to block off the street and for the noise, etc. However, I never saw any signs or flyers about the party and totally forgot which day it was scheduled for until we saw them setting up that day. I don’t park on the street, but I still thought it was a bit odd that Shinola didn’t post anything in the days leading up to the party.

    • R St neighbor

      I’m your neighbor and I totally agree. We’d made other plans so didn’t go but my daughter and her sitter walked down and said it was fun. The shinola guy did not tell us the alley would be totally closed so we had to ask the police to move in order to park in the back but they were nice about it. I think some day or day before communication would have been nice but I think the event was a good idea.

  • OP Anon

    I don’t think they actually towed anyone. There were still a number of private cars not related to the event on R Street (closer to 13th). None of the cars had tickets. Also, the cops seemed pretty chill so I’m sure they would have helped someone move their car.

  • OP Anon

    I don’t think they actually towed anyone. There were still a number of private cars not related to the event on R Street (closer to 13th). None of the cars had tickets. Also, the cops seemed pretty chill so I’m sure they would have helped someone move their car.

  • We are really sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. We won’t let it happen again.

  • Too many opinions

    No one will buy that house for a million bucks.
    Leave the dog alone and let it eat his burger.
    Another gun in Parkview-surprise!
    Leave your car and bike.
    yeah! new restaurants

  • RCH

    There was a ticket left on my car when someone posted signs the night before (not the required 72 hour period). I contested it and was told no actual ticket was issued.

    I didn’t know about the verification thing though. Good to know.

  • DC Anon

    Contact 3D tell them the situation, and they will make sure to not ticket or tow vehicles. I had a similar situation a few years ago with a block event happening and they put the signs up the day before.

    • Anon

      What’s is 3D? I saw these signs in the morning. I live on R st as well. I called the precinct station on V street and complained that they put them up the night before and they said he can’t do anything and all issues were to be directed to DOT and to essentially F myself. Is ticketing not managed by DC police? In any regard it was pointless as DOT is closed from Friday evening to Monday morning so no way to request them not to tow or fine.


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