‘I Assumed Jewish Holidays Counted’: Parking Ticket Appeals

What follows are excerpts from parking ticket appeals letters filed recently with the New Canaan Parking Bureau. Where available, we’ve included information on the violation for which these people were cited, in what amount, and where and when the violation occurred. For context, we’ve also added town of residence for the ticketed motorist. We preserve spelling, capital letters and punctuation as written by the appellant.

Parking in a crosswalk carries a $75 fine in New Canaan. Credit: LMA

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“I was getting married on 9/29/17 and my daughter from NYC (9 girls) were having our nails, hair, etc. done. She was unaware of New Canaan parking time.”

—$25 for overtime parking on Elm Street at 11:49 a.m. on Sept. 29 (New Canaan resident)

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“On 9/21/17 I read the parking meter rules as it stated on the meter itself. It stated that the meters were not in effect on holidays. Sept. 21, 2017 was a Jewish holiday. Schools were closed in observance of it. The meter did not specify particular holidays. I assumed Jewish holidays counted. Therefore, I did not feed the meter.”

—$25 for unpaid space in Morse Court, at 11:50 a.m. on Sept. 21 (Darien resident)

Narrow passage on Forest Street. MS photo

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“In the evening of Sept. 21st, 2017, I parked my car near my home on Park Pl. I made a mistake of parking after I get my mum from Norwalk hospital since it is easier for her to get off from the other side. I have never before parked on the wrong side and was not aware of this policy on this neighborhood street. Many times I see other parked on this street in a similar way. So I thought it is OK to park this way. Next time I will inform my neighbors about this rule as if I see a similar mistake. I have lived in New Canaan for four years and have good credit record. I shall be ever grateful if I get a reduce penalty of $15 fee for this ticket. If a hearing is required, I shall be glad to attend.”

—New Canaan resident

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“My husband and I are both seniors who are unfamiliar with New Canaan, have never been to this parking facility before and were very confused as to how we pay. After reading the signs several times, we did not locate any place to pay for our parking. We looked for parking meters, but did not see any, and so we left for our short walk to a store nearby and planned to try and figure it out when we returned which was less than 30 minutes later. Upon return we found this ticket and the meter people, who explained how it’s done. However, we were initially totally unclear as to how we were to pay for parking. As low income seniors (79 and 80 years old), we respectfully request a reduction in this $25 fine.”

—$25 for unpaid space in Morse Court at 3:44 p.m. on Sept. 23 (Westport resident)

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“Work in town. Was unloading things for store. Store was extremely busy forgot to move my car.”

—Three tickets on Sept. 20 (Danbury resident)

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“I received this parking ticket on September 22, 2017. I had an errand to do in town and thought I read the sign correctly in the ‘no loading zone’ allowing parking after 1:00, I also thought it was one by my watch so I felt I was in the clear. As it turns out I read the sign wrong (in Westport they allow parking after 1:00 pm however much to my surprise, I found this ticket on my windshield. I thought I was in the legal limits which I was plainly not. Is there any way this can be forgiven or reduced due to total misunderstanding.”

—$30 for loading zone on South Avenue at 1:28 p.m. on Sept. 22 (Westport resident)

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“I parked in the lot and went to the machine to put my money in. I followed the instructions and put in my space number and when it instructed me to put money in, I started to put quarters in. However, every time I put a quarter in, the quarter came out the slot at the bottom and the screen said something to the effect of ‘transaction finished’ or ‘transaction completed.’ I am not from New Canaan and have never shopped here before and did not know what to do. I looked around the lot and there was no booth or attendant walking around to ask for assistance. I stood there for a few minutes, hoping to spot someone. When none appeared, I finally went across the street to the New Balance store for 10 minutes. When I came out I had a $25 ticket. Since the machine would not accept my quarters and there was no assistance provided, I would request that the ticket be waived and I would happily pay the dollar that I attempted to pay at the time, but which was rejected.”

—$25 for unpaid space in Morse Court, at 10:35 a.m. on Sept. 27 (Fairfield resident)

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“I mistakenly inputted 250 into the machine, thinking that I had pressed 258. I’ve mistyped before into the machine (or misremembered my space) but on one occasion I couldn’t locate the receipt. I respectfully request that I be excused from paying the prescribed fine for my inadvertent error.”

—$30 for unpaid space in Railroad Lot at 12:27 p.m. on Sept. 28 (New Canaan resident)

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“I arrived for a morning train to NYC and there were no available daily parking spaces. There were plenty of empty monthly spots. I have had monthly parking for years but now am unemployed and gave up monthly permit. I had a last minute job interview and had no choice but to park off to the side. As other daily commuters had done. Please be reasonable. I made sure I parked in a safe place.”

—$30 for not a parking space in Talmadge Hill Lot at 10:22 a.m. on Sept. 28 (New Canaan resident)

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“I parked on South Avenue at 9:25 a.m. and went to Go Figure for a 9:30 workout class. The class went over by 5 minutes. I used the rest room, said hello to friends and came back to my car to discover a parking ticket for $25 for 20 minutes of parking (10:52 a.m.). I had not realized South Avenue was 1 hour. In fact, I thought parking in town was changed to 2 hrs … I am never relaxed shopping or having lunch in town, always concerned with time and getting a ticket. I think New Canaan is shooting itself in the foot with these strict parking fines. I will be forced to shop only online and shop and eat out of town. It is my understanding it the parking enforcement is due to the employee parking and many cars in town. The town should address this—take license plates of employees and ticket them if they park in town and not designated lots.”

—$25 for overtime parking on South Avenue at 10:52 a.m. on Oct. 4 (New Canaan resident)

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“I was told by person coming out of building (Teen Center) that entire lot was free parking on all Saturdays and Sundays so parked in spot that I did. In fact, I was asked to park my car in this spot; because original spot I went into – woman with [SUV] could not fit in spot due to truck over white line. I moved as a courtesy and told I could park in spot and I get ticket. I come to NC on weekends to work a second job.”

—$30 for no permit in Playhouse Lot at 1:52 p.m. on Sept. 23 (Darien resident)

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“Not aware the car was blocking the crosswalk. Was just parking there temporarily to deliver a package to the office at William Raveis.”

—$75 for obstructing crosswalk on Main Street, at 1:40 p.m. on Sept. 18 (New Canaan resident)

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“I am a manager at [an Elm Street business]. Being the only manager on today, we had our roof leak in certain parts, the people came to fix it and I wasn’t allowed to leave the store in time and received a ticket. I was 15 minutes shy.”

—$25 for overtime parking on Elm Street, at 12:34 p.m. on Sept. 15 (Bridgeport resident)

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“Same day/same spot … Double tickets … Was with a friend + out-of-towner who didn’t understand New Canaan’s time limits + since there was no ‘yellow paint’ on the curb she didn’t know it was a loading zone. She was visiting for the week + had taken the car to shop + east bfast in town.”

—$30 for loading zone on Main Street, at 9:53 a.m. on Sept. 12 (Darien resident)

2 thoughts on “‘I Assumed Jewish Holidays Counted’: Parking Ticket Appeals

  1. I think a good job for an intern either in town government or at the New Canaanite would be to go through a year’s worth of parking ticket appeals and see if common themes emerge. It may well be that signage and other information needs to be improved. Sure, some appeals are because of the personal issues of the ticketed driver, but it also looks like there is a lot of confusion among people visiting our town. These appeals could be seen as a customer service survey; let’s mine that data to improve our how our town operates.

    • Jane, I see every appeal letter and I can tell you now what the No. 1 reason is: People enter the wrong space number into the machines when paying at lots like Morse Court, Park Street, Playhouse and Railroad. The matter typically is cleared up, ticket voided, by producing a receipt or Pay-by-phone confirmation.

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