New Canaan’s Parking Commission voted at its most recent meeting to either uphold or void recent parking violation fines issued to two employees of J. Crew after one woman claimed that the parking machine wasn’t functioning properly, while the other claimed that her violation was an “honest mistake.”
Martha Small told the volunteer commission that prior to her shift at the Elm Street retailer, she drove up to a parking machine at Morse Court at around 1 p.m. and paid for time with her credit card, but didn’t receive a ticket. She said she noticed that tickets were being printed out at the adjacent machine, but figured that her transaction was completed anyway.
“This has happened [to me] before, but I’ve always been able to check my credit card or my cell phone [to confirm the transaction], but I was in a hurry and there was a line, so I went on into the store,” Small said at the May 11 hearing, held at Town Hall.
She continued: “I was going to check my cell phone after I punched in at work, but then I discovered that I didn’t have my cell phone that day. So, I just sort of convinced myself that it would probably work like it usually does, and I even spotted [officers] out there at around 1:30 or so checking tickets, but I didn’t even worry about it.”
Small then said that when she went out to pay another $2 to keep her parking space, she accidently entered the wrong parking space number into the machine. She said that when she got home, she realized that the first transaction didn’t go through, so she told the commission that she would be willing to pay the fee the first transaction, but requested that she not have to pay the fine for the second transaction.
The commission took just a minute to vote (3-1) to void Small’s $25 fine because, Chairman Keith Richey said, there have been multiple complaints about the parking machines at Morse Court and that the “last days of those machines are upon us.”
New Canaan Parking Bureau Superintendent Stacy Miltenberg pointed out that the machine had been operating normally on that day and that if the machine was out of paper, a warning would have been immediately sent to the Parking Department office.
Small’s co-worker Olivia Chan was also in attendance at the May 11 meeting to appeal three overtime parking violations. Chan said that although she has a parking permit for the Center School lot, she arrived to work at 5 a.m. that day and decided to park on Main Street.
“I was [at work] from 5 to 4pm and I didn’t even have a lunch break,” she said. “And I actually totally forget that I even parked there because it was so early in the morning, so when I was done at the end of my shift, I went the Center [School] parking lot, didn’t see my car, thought my car was stolen, and I was going to call the cops and then I realized that I had parked my car on [Main Street].”
Chan said that although she was willing pay one ticket for her “honest mistake,” she felt that three tickets was excessive. She added that she made the decision to parking on Main Street that morning because it was still dark outside and she didn’t want to work through the Center School lot alone.
The commission took a bit longer to discuss Chan’s violations due to a conversation regarding Chan’s history of previous parking violations.
“She’s had—between June 2015 and now—16 tickets and one of them was just in December 2016 on Main Street, plus two in October 2016 and two in September 2016,” Miltenberg said.
Based on this information, the commission voted to uphold all three of Chan’s tickets, which will cost her $95 total.