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“Parking Enforcement Officers in Mt Pleasant Need to be Investigated”

by Prince Of Petworth October 13, 2016 at 2:05 pm 33 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

I’m emailing because it looks like parking enforcement went on a rampage on our block and ticketed a bunch of cars. This isn’t exactly outrageous or news, but what is galling is the fact that some cars were ticketed unfairly but one truck that was literally parked within 1 foot of a stop sign got a pass. That truck did not receive a ticket. I saw the parking enforcement officer drive right by this parked truck (picture attached).

On the other hand, the officer ticketed a car that was parked illegally for “parking within 3 ft of a driveway.” This is not my car, but what’s frustrating about this is that the driveway wasn’t even blocked at all. (I’ve attached a picture of this car) I’m friends with the owner of the driveway and every once in awhile, someone parks a car there to actually block the driveway. When they call to get a car doing that ticketed, they are always told there’s nothing that can be done since there’s no “No Parking” sign.

A car on the other side of the driveway got two tickets. He received a ticket for parking in an emergency no parking spot (he wasn’t; he was parked past the sign) and also for parking too close to that driveway. Again, he was not blocking the driveway either and there’s no sign.

What makes this even more frustrating is that people are constantly parked illegally on my block and neighboring blocks. Delivery trucks will block a street for a half hour or park on the sidewalk (when there are commercial spaces available nearby), and there are no consequences.

One of my neighbors was screwed over by parking enforcement when was trying to both move in and out of his condo! He had a spot reserved by an emergency no parking sign for his moving truck which and the space was taken up by a car. He and I both called to get the car ticketed (so it could towed), but there was no response for hours. When he was moving out, we were calling for parking enforcement to come by as early as 8 am, and they did not bother to ticket until after 2 pm.

Don’t get even me started on the Sunday illegal parkers…”


  • joe

    Reserved parking signs are totally useless. It takes 3 hours at the MINIMUM to get a car towed out of your spot. 1-2 hours to get the car ticketed and then another 1-2 hours to get the towing truck there. By that time I already found another spot and moved all of my stuff in. Total waste of money

    • lrds

      Amendment to this: I have twice flagged down MPD officers who would call in license numbers, find the address, knock on the door, and make people move the car when parked in an Emergency No Parking Zone for moving. When that didn’t work, he stopped everyone on the street to ask whose car it was. Calling doesn’t work well, I agree, but neighborhood beat officers are routinely helpful (and may know the cars/owners).

      • anon

        Damn, I wish that cop worked in my neighborhood! My local beat cops tend to have an attitude where they can’t be bothered to do anything.

      • yesjillsergeant

        I had parking signs up when I moved on a Sunday and was warned by DDOT that parking enforcement wouldn’t be around if I needed a car moved. Obviously no one heeded the signs, so I called the police. A lovely office tried to track down a neighbor’s car, with no luck. The the moving truck was then parked in an alley, which was easier for my movers, but I felt bad for any neighbors that were inconvenienced. Since I wasn’t able to use my parking signs–which were posted 3 days in advance–I contacted DDOT and got a refund! I’m actually kind of amazed.

    • CatieCat

      I just got some for my move. I agree they were useless– only 2 of our four reserved spots were free (and I didn’t even live in a tough parking neighborhood.) However, the parking enforcement eventually did come (when we were almost done moving,) and ticketed the cars. I oddly felt happy about the tickets, but also felt bad, because we were able to still find a place for our truck to squeeze in, and I know how much it sucks to get a parking ticket! BUT those cars parked there WELL AFTER we put the signs up (i.e. can’t argue that they didn’t see them), so I suppose I shouldn’t feel bad.

  • NH Ave Hiker

    Yea, there doesn’t need to be a sign for parking near a driveway/alleyway. it’s anywhere within 5 feet and you get a ticket. I got tagged for that once, doesn’t matter if you’re not blocking it.

    • MtPleasantResident

      According to parking enforcement and police officers we have talked to, there actually does have to be a sign. We’ve asked numerous times to get cars blocking that driveway to get ticketed (so that we can get them towed), and they always refused – citing the lack of the “no parking” sign.

      One of the past residents is a teacher, his car has been blocked on numerous occasions. He had to get an uber to get to work.

      • MinEdgewood

        According to DC parking regulations (here: http://dpw.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dpw/publication/attachments/DC_Parking_Regulations_2405.pdf), there in fact does not have to be a sign to be ticketed for parking within 5 feet of a driveway/alleyway.

        • Anonymous

          (Almost) Every Sunday, I get 1 or 2 churchgoers ticketed for parking within 5 feet of my driveway (if not partially blocking it). I have had to argue with an MPD officer on occasion who thinks it’s enough that “I have room to get out”. Just ask them to speak to a supervisor. Now, if only they were ticketed for parking in crosswalks, driving the wrong way on one way streets, double parking (where illegal), etc…

        • Denise4000

          I should have fought the ticket I got for parking too close to a driveway.

      • NH Ave Hiker

        That’s insane, and they’re clearly wrong. See the commenter below:

        • NH Ave Hiker

          I meant above, whoops

  • ParkPro

    When I moved a car illegally parked in the emergency no parking zone. 5 or so calls and 7 hours later, parking enforcement showed up and towed the car. This was after my moving truck had left.

  • lrds

    I feel this pain. Parking enforcement is its own rhyme and rhythm, an act of karma basically unrelated to the act of parking itself. It gets everyone eventually, but it’ll have nothing to do with the merits of your parking.
    We parked a rental car in my (HUGE, TRIPLE WIDE ALLEY) for 20 minutes to install a car seat, blocking my parking spot. My alley has drug dealing, prostitution, a weekend car detailing business, and plumbing vans that ritually block people in every damn day. None of those folks ever get citations and appear to have had no law enforcement interference whatsoever. My temporary rental parking that blocked in ONLY me and left space for two cars to get by? Parking ticket. Car blocking the heroin dealing garage that doubles as a prostitution place of business at the same time? Nada. Response when I called weekly about the plumbing vans blocking my spot? Nada.
    My favorite, years old example was in the Snowmageddon days where a parking enforcement officer stopped her car in middle of a street plowed to a single lane in order to ticket parked cars that had been plowed in 4 feet of snow and ice, whilst blocking the street fully for 30 minutes. MPD asked her to move eventually. Same officer routinely ticketed cars parked legally in front of a church (it had no parking only on Sundays). When shown sign , claimed that the days on the sign did not actually matter, churches are churches every day, not just Sunday and thus no parking is always in force. I see.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s been pretty much confirmed by everyone that the parking enforcement officers are somehow in-cahoots with delivery drivers and operators of industrial vehicles (like that parked above). Whether it’s outright bribery or just a willingness to extend a professional courtesy to other blue collar trades, I can’t say for sure. But I get the feeling that they think those who live in the densest parts of the city and own cars “can afford it” to be fined on the most technical of parking errors or even outright inconsistencies in signage.
    Frankly, I think it more of class war than anything else.

    • Adriana

      Not just delivery drivers, but also out of state drivers it seems. I see cars parked in my neighborhood all the time with MD and VA tags, and they rarely get parking tickets for parking for more than the allowed 2 hours.

      • Anonymous

        It’s tough to track how long a car has been parked, especially in the course of a single day. The enforcement officers have a pretty big area to cover. The “2 hour limit” is definitely an empty threat in many cases.

        • Adriana

          I agree it is tough to track, but they do have the capability. And I’m not talking about cars parked in the neighborhood for a few minutes past the 2 hour limit. I’m talking about cars with out of state tags parked nearly all day.

        • Anon Spock

          Yup. If there are meters nearby, that’s much easier a catch. Also going for the clear cases: too close to stop signs, hydrants, etc would seem like a more worthwhile endeavor.
          Fwiw, I reported a work truck for parking without the pass via 311, and they were ticketed, so maybe try that if you haven’t already.

        • ET

          Actually I think I have seen other jurisdictions usually solve this by marking the tires with chalk. I just don’t think the bother to even try.

          • Truxton Thomas

            Yes, that’s routine where I come from. Mark with chalk, come back in two hours, and if the chalk hasn’t moved, ticket. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen it here. It’s not hard at all, you just have to make two trips.

      • Anon Spock

        Have you verified the cars don’t have zone stickers or a visitors pass in the window? Focusing on out of state plates tells you very little.

        • Adriana

          Yup. I have.

    • allez

      It’s not just the densest neighborhoods, it’s citywide….Plus you can’t really determine class based off a parked car.

    • Adriana

      p.s. You may be right about the class warfare point. However, these blue collar workers are employed by rich companies or flippers. So the beneficiary of parking enforcement not enforcing laws is rich people, in the end. At the expense of DC residents.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, but the delivery drivers presumably say “Hey my boss has threatened to fire me if I get another ticket” or “It gets taken out of my wages” and I bet there’s some sympathy that conveys.
        But yes, I agree that it’s largely just for the benefit of already-rich owners of said companies.

    • Ben

      Not really:

      “In the two-and-a-half years ended in April, the Buster Brown delivery trucks of UPS received 60,582 tickets in the District. At $50 for most tickets, that amounts to more than $3 million in fines. FedEx trucks collected 50,142 tickets worth more than $2.5 million in fines.”


  • Rosalie

    Good luck with trying not to pay these tickets – my car got ticketed 3 times in a week, all listed as “parking within 25 feet of an intersection” – which we contested, considering that charge is ridiculous in the Mt Pleasant neighborhood (we had parked on Irving by 17th St, which at the time was missing any signs indicating the end of the parking allowed area), and it were pretty far back. After waiting (and therefore moving from the $30 ticket to a doubled price of $60), we received a ruling that we had to pay because it is illegal to park 40 feet from an intersection….so it’s basically ‘make up laws as we go along’ for DC…?

    • Rosalie

      it was* pretty far back … clearly need some caffeine.

    • textdoc

      The fine doubles only if you fail to either pay or _submit an appeal_ within 30 days.
      I had a bogus ticket where the first I learned of it was when I received a notification in the mail telling me that because I hadn’t paid or appealed, the fine had doubled to $60. :(

  • MoldieOldie

    Tactic: get the signs/permits and just double park if the spots are occupied. Problem solved (but also call parking enforcement).

  • A in the Heights

    Flip side of this is that last week I got a ticket for parking in an Emergency – No Parking area, except the signs were not put the legally required 72 hours in advance. How do I know this, besides the fact that I didn’t see them when I parked? The signs said they were printed the day before the reserved date (as in, this is printed on the signs themselves – which clearly the enforcement officer did not read or did not care). While I have a great deal of sympathy for people trying to get their moving truck parked (having been through that hassle myself on more than one occasion), the parking enforcement people are completely arbitrary bordering on fools.

    • anoNE

      The sign’s poster is required to call and confirm that the signs were posted 72 hours in advance. A parking officer is supposed to then come out and confirm that. No tickets should be issued without that confirmation number. (I think a courtesy tow – no fee – is ok.) Challenge the ticket. Insist the signs were not posted the required 72 hours in advance and request the hearing officer look up that confirmation number. When they see here isn’t one, your ticket should be dropped. I’ve fought every ticket I’ve received in DC and have actually either won outright or gotten the fine reduced every time. It’s just insane how their own staff lack basic knowledge about the rules they are paid to enforce. Maybe I should go into business and fight tickets for a % fee, hah.


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