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Undeserved (IMO) 'Blocking driveway' ticket. Worth fighting?

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Undeserved (IMO) 'Blocking driveway' ticket. Worth fighting?

Postby VEFF on Tue Jul 15, 2003 7:26 pm

I got a ticket today (one of the very few tickets of any kind that I have gotten since I began to drive in the late 80s)!!!

It was for "blocking a driveway". I parked in the train station parking lot, in part of the very wide driveway, which people are forced to do every day because of a serious shortage of spaces.
I even did this rather than block someone in like some people do without consideration for others.

My town's population has been expanding rapidly and parking at the train station is non existent after 7:25 AM (except in the days preceding major holidays etc.) because they haven't added any spots.
People routinely block each other (there are no markings in one of the two lots, so it is a free for all) and leave each other no room to get out (police office told me they have had to escort commuters home because they had been blocked in).
He also told me they gave someone else a ticket for the same offense as me just yesterday.

I told the officer that for the past 2 years there hasn't been enough parking.
He was very honest and replied "2 years? 5 years!", validating my claim that there is a problem.

Apparently someone complained that they couldn't get out because of me. This couldn't be further from the truth, because I had parked in the opening ("driveway" on the ticket) to the lot, which has enough room for 3 cars to get by, so there was still plenty of room for anyone to get by.
Heck, as I found the ticket on my windshield and my car was still there, someone else exited the lot without a problem. Two cars could have passed simultaneously.

My taxes have gone up by about 10% twice in the past three years alone, yet they can't be bothered to find a solution to the parking dilemma.

Is it worth fighting the ticket? Do I have a shot?
I was thinking of taking photos on several successive days (with time stamp) once the lot is as full as a can of sardines (by 7:25 AM) and maybe (if I have the energy and time) getting signatures from fellow commuters at my station (while I wait for the train) to attest to the problem.
It is not so much the money, since my time is worth more, but more the principle...

I assume there aren't any points since it is not a 'moving violation'?

I understand the officer was just doing his job; it is the township that doesn't seem to care (I already complained 9 months ago, and they said they get complaints every day!!).

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Postby CowboySlim on Tue Jul 15, 2003 9:04 pm

Accept it. Not worth the trouble or further frustration. That other people have done it and not been ticketed is of no help; same deal as speeding, that only 1% are ticketed didn't get any of those 1% off.

For the future: Get a beater with 4wd and mount two railroad ties as bumpers. Use the other spots and if they block you in - push them into a ticketable area.

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Postby Ian on Tue Jul 15, 2003 9:04 pm

How much was the ticket? If it was like $15 I'd just suck it up and not park in the driveway. If its a sizable sum, I'd definitely fight it. Bring it pics. They probably won't hurt.
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Postby VEFF on Wed Jul 16, 2003 12:18 am

Ian wrote:How much was the ticket? If it was like $15 I'd just suck it up and not park in the driveway. If its a sizable sum, I'd definitely fight it. Bring it pics. They probably won't hurt.


Thanks for the responses guys.

It isn't too much, but not $15.
It is about $44 (my brother checked online).
I am pretty sure it doesn't put any points on my license, since it is not a moving violation. That would be a much bigger concern than the fine.
Can anyone confirm that?

The money isn't so much the issue: I mean I spend more (in some cases much more) than that on a simple dinner out with my girlfriend or on lots of other things (hotels from our recent vacation), but that is always money well spent.

The problem is more that this lack of parking is an ongoing daily issue.
I get up half an hour earlier every day and take an earlier train than I need to, just so I can get a spot in the morning.
I just want the township to do something about this.
All the neighboring towns have plenty of extra parking at the train stations...
I think they don't have a lot of room to play with, but there is a side street that they could possibly implement alternate side parking on for commuters, as one alternative to the daily mess we have now...

This week I have been doing a bit of work from home, so they gave me flexibility with my hours. I was a bit tired and decided to sleep in today. Big mistake!

The thing is that there is (for now) unofficial parking in between the fire and police stations (ironically)...
The officer said I can stand there, but to keep it quiet (they don't want everyone starting to park there, since there wouldn't be enough spots there either in that case).
The problem with that is that it is quite a bit further from the station and you have to make sure you leave extra time. Sometimes I am rushing to make the train and there is no way I can walk from the police station (up the hill) to the train that quickly.

I may contest it. Even if I don't win, I can at least make my point and
know I took a stand by voicing my opinion...
The court is nearby, so it shouldn't be a big deal to go there after work.
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Postby UALOneKPlus on Wed Jul 16, 2003 1:41 am

Do you live near the East Coast? This doesn't seem to be anything I'm familiar on the West Coast.

If it's not too much trouble, I'd fight it.

And no, a non-moving violation will not affect your driving record!!
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Postby TheWizard on Wed Jul 16, 2003 3:35 am

$44 for a parking ticket? Ridiculous! What town do you live in, VEFF? Remind me never to move there. :) I got a parking ticket two months ago (Only my 2nd ticket ever, and the first one was a parking ticket as well. I'm proud of that.) and it only cost me $25. I paid it, no big deal. The ticket was for parking in a loading zone.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Jul 16, 2003 5:26 am

VEFF wrote:The problem is more that this lack of parking is an ongoing daily issue.
I get up half an hour earlier every day and take an earlier train than I need to, just so I can get a spot in the morning.
I just want the township to do something about this.
All the neighboring towns have plenty of extra parking at the train stations...
I think they don't have a lot of room to play with, but there is a side street that they could possibly implement alternate side parking on for commuters, as one alternative to the daily mess we have now...

a suggestion:
if one of those neighboring towns is quite nearby, why don't you drive there every morning?
you'll still have to get up half an hour earlier every morning (maybe less if the town is near enough?), but at least you won't have the aggravation of the parking problem when you get to the train station.
OK gas might be an issue though...
just a thought.
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Postby VEFF on Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:23 am

dodecahedron wrote:
VEFF wrote:The problem is more that this lack of parking is an ongoing daily issue.
I get up half an hour earlier every day and take an earlier train than I need to, just so I can get a spot in the morning.
I just want the township to do something about this.
All the neighboring towns have plenty of extra parking at the train stations...
I think they don't have a lot of room to play with, but there is a side street that they could possibly implement alternate side parking on for commuters, as one alternative to the daily mess we have now...

a suggestion:
if one of those neighboring towns is quite nearby, why don't you drive there every morning?
you'll still have to get up half an hour earlier every morning (maybe less if the town is near enough?), but at least you won't have the aggravation of the parking problem when you get to the train station.
OK gas might be an issue though...
just a thought.


I had thought of that.
Actually, parking by the fire and police stations is more convenient than driving to another town. The walk is about 4 minutes, if you walk at an average to slower than average pace. It isn't a very big deal, unless you get there at the last minute, which means you will miss the train and have to wait a while, whereas by parking right at the train station you can run and still make the train; that is the problem...
In addition, I doubt the other towns would allow me to park there.
I have to have a permit (free in my town at least, unlike some towns where they charge an annual train station parking fee) just to park there in the first place.

This is only my second parking type ticket ever (I have been driving for many years).
The other one was $5 (I almost laughed at how little it was) about 6 years ago - My brother and I had gone out to a night club and met some people, so we drove to their town to hang out after the club closed. We ended up staying till about 6:30 or 7 AM.
The town was having a fair that Sunday and needed the street cleaned.
When we parked (around 2:30 AM) it was legally parked, but we stayed into Sunday morning, when the no parking took effect. No big deal on that one.


At least the violation doesn't carry any points :)
I will probably pay the ticket (I'll consider it my donation to the local police; assuming that is where some of the funds go), but write the mayor to complain.

$44 is nothing compared to the hefty $466 you can get for a single speeding ticket (assuming it is in a 65 MPH zone where the fines are doubled and you are doing 30 MPH over the limit. 20 MPH over will still cost you $386 in the same zone).
Those speeding violations also come with an insurance surcharge for 3 years.

The thing is others have parked where I parked for years; apparently they are cracking down.
I would like to know who the woman is who complained to the police in the first place. I doubt it is one of the commuters, since they have to go through the same hassle I do, every day.

It takes 3 - 3 1/2 hours a day (round trip door to door) to commute, so getting up 30 minutes early adds to the fatigue...
I'll probably start parking at the police/fire stations, especially now that the officer confirmed that this is officially legal...(It was sort of a grey area before).
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Postby Ian on Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:38 am

VEFF wrote:[At least the violation doesn't carry any points :)
I will probably pay the ticket (I'll consider it my donation to the local police; assuming that is where some of the funds go), but write the mayor to complain.


You're better off writing an editorial to the city paper about the sad state of the parking situation. More people will see it that way. Unless the mayor is looking to be reelected soon, he'll probably just file it away in his circular file cabinet (the trash).

You might want to take it to a city/town council meeting. Your complaint is definitely valid. I'm sure the city officials would rather listen to you than some of the hippy ass rantings that probably go on.

VEFF wrote:The thing is others have parked where I parked for years; apparently they are cracking down.
I would like to know who the woman is who complained to the police in the first place. I doubt it is one of the commuters, since they have to go through the same hassle I do, every day.


Probably some old lady that works there. She's probably angry at the world (or has nothing better to do) so she calls the cops on people.
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Postby VEFF on Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:57 am

Ian wrote:
VEFF wrote:[At least the violation doesn't carry any points :)
I will probably pay the ticket (I'll consider it my donation to the local police; assuming that is where some of the funds go), but write the mayor to complain.


You're better off writing an editorial to the city paper about the sad state of the parking situation. More people will see it that way. Unless the mayor is looking to be reelected soon, he'll probably just file it away in his circular file cabinet (the trash).

You might want to take it to a city/town council meeting. Your complaint is definitely valid. I'm sure the city officials would rather listen to you than some of the hippy ass rantings that probably go on.

VEFF wrote:The thing is others have parked where I parked for years; apparently they are cracking down.
I would like to know who the woman is who complained to the police in the first place. I doubt it is one of the commuters, since they have to go through the same hassle I do, every day.


Probably some old lady that works there. She's probably angry at the world (or has nothing better to do) so she calls the cops on people.


Thanks. I was thinking of writing to the paper actually (I will simply direct my complaints in it to the mayor/township).

Funny you said that about the 'old 'lady': I was thinking along very similar lines.
There was plenty of room for TWO cars to pass my car and get out of the lot (simultaneously), let alone one.
I agree that fire truck might have a bit of trouble getting in, but that lot is so tightly spaced, that getting through the opening at the entrance wouldn't be the real problem for the fire truck anyway; it would never be able to maneuver (it would fit through the opening, but not be able to make a single turn, leaving it sticking into the street)...

The local paper does have visibility and writing a nice polite letter stating the issues might help.
To be honest I am surprised nobody has written about this issue before. Then again, they must get a fair amount of letters every week with the various other issues that occur in my town, like others.
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Postby jase on Tue Jul 22, 2003 8:37 am

The problem is that people tend to be lazy, preferring to just bend over and take it from behind rather than do anything about it.

The only way you'll be able to make a difference is to be very active over the subject. Get a petition together, *then* send a letter to the mayor and/or local council and get the local papers, and more importantly perhaps, your local television station(s) involved.

We had an horrendous time with buses clogging up our small town centre here (caused by an ill-thought out deregulation by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s). Nothing was done for years, then finally someone cracked, got the local ITV station involved who ran a 30-minute programme on the "bus wars" which ended up being networked(!!!!) and now the problem is completely sorted out (well mostly -- you still can't move for the damn buses in the rush-hour).
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Postby Spazmogen on Tue Jul 22, 2003 9:07 am

Pay it and count yourself lucky.

Up here, we'd have it towed. That's about $150 + storage fees, then you'd get the car back and find the parking ticket inside too.

It's rarely worth taking the day off work to go to traffic court to fight a $45 ticket. Odds are, you make more than $45 a day.

Chalk it up to the 'cost of doing business'.

$45 is cheap.
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Postby VEFF on Tue Jul 22, 2003 4:15 pm

Spazmogen wrote:Pay it and count yourself lucky.

Up here, we'd have it towed. That's about $150 + storage fees, then you'd get the car back and find the parking ticket inside too.

It's rarely worth taking the day off work to go to traffic court to fight a $45 ticket. Odds are, you make more than $45 a day.

Chalk it up to the 'cost of doing business'.

$45 is cheap.


I fully agree that $44 (actual amount) is cheap. It was more the fact that I felt it was undeserved, and wanted to stand up out of principle and frustration with the whole parking situation.
I had already chalked it up as a cost of doing business. I considered it my donation, albeit unintentional, to the police force, which does a good job.

I noticed that someone else parked in the opening (referred to as "driveway" on my ticket) today. I hope he/she doesn't get a ticket too!

I am not going to fight it in court; it is not worth the hassle or my time for $44.
I would NOT have to take a day off though, since they have night court and my court date (if I plead not guilty) was scheduled by them for the evening; however, it isn't worth the effort.
I am going on a nice tropical vacation with my family later that week, and don't want to waste my time on this.
If I felt I had a strong case, I would probably go, since it will likely only take ten minutes. I would feel vindicated.
However, I know the police was only doing their job in this case. The township should address the parking fiasco.

Nonetheless, I may write a letter or get a petition started, to resolve the parking situation (maybe have them allocate parking on the street right next to the parking lot) for all of the commuters in my town.
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Postby BuddhaTB on Sun Aug 10, 2003 1:26 pm

I would personally go fight it, you have nothing to loose anyways. Bring in lots of pics and diagrams of the entire parking lot.

But seriously, your city needs to have a traffic study done on that parking lot!
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Postby F1Pilot on Sun Aug 10, 2003 5:27 pm

Go for it, and good luck! I hope you win!

Here in Georgia, you can get a ticket for parking on the grass...on your own property. I think that's a ridiculous one. I found that out by my dad-in-law getting a ticket for parking his car off the side of his driveway under a tree after washing his car...on his own property...not blocking a driveway or sidewalk. :-?
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