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. We preserve all capital letters and punctuation as written by the appellant.
“On 9/13/16, I pulled into a parking spot on Forest St at 12:21 p.m. to meet clients at Gates at 12:30 p.m. We left Gates at 2 p.m. as my phone alarm went off to alert me that I needed to get back to the office. My clients & I walked back to my car and stood outside the car from 204 p.m. to 214 p.m. talking with a gentleman who indicated he was the Realtor for the retail condo complex across the street. I entered my car at 2:14 p.m. and drove away. I was within the 2 hr parking limit. The parking ticket was written at 13:55 therefore no violation occurred.”
—$20 for overtime parking on Forest Street at 1:55 p.m. on Sept. 13
“I was tied up in conference call that ran over and I had forgotten about my vehicle. Once realized I went out to move my car which was parked in front of 72 Park in first space before parking lot entrance. When I got there, there was a dump truck parked directly in front of me that made it impossible for me to get out of my space safely. Apparently there was paving being done on the Park St lot access road that this truck was serving as barricade. I had to get back to a meeting and did not have time to find a truck driver.”
—$40 for parking second overtime violation on Park Street at 1:20 p.m. on Sept. 23
“On crutch after hip surgery in April, due to be off of it any day now … I usually park in the Center School Lot and pay for my full day of work from that meter. On this day I was running behind scheduled and could not hustle from farther lot to work so I parked in Main Street lot.”
—$20 for unpaid space in Morse Court at 12 p.m. on Sept. 6 and again at 2:52 p.m. on Sept. 10
“On Saturday 9/17/16 we planned an outing to visit New Canaan’s town center. We had never been there before. We found what we thought was a free public parking lot. We were there for about 2 hours and upon our return to the car, saw that we received a ticket. We did not see any signs indicating this was a pay for lot. If we had seen some sign of this, we would have gladly paid. I am asking that under these circumstances, you waive the ticket.”
—$20 for unpaid space in Morse Court at 2:33 p.m. on Sept. 17
“I was not aware at the time I parked on Elm Street that there was a maximum parking time enforced and unfortunately neglected to pay attention to the signs posted. I was in a hurry as I had an appointment at Image Design Group and did not think I would be there as long as I was hence the 2nd violation was issued on top of the 1st overtime violation.”
—$40 for second overtime parking violation on Elm Street, at 2:04 p.m. on Sept. 17
“On September 2nd I parked in the town lot and had my hair done at Salon Kiklo. Unfortunately I struggled with the meter. I was able to get it to work for a certain amount of time and print a receipt. When I tried to add time the coins were returned to me and fell to the bottom of the coin slot. When I returned to my car the parking attendant was there and just wrote the ticket. I immediately called the parking bureau office and the person I spoke with suggested I write this letter to appeal the ticket. I left for a business trip and just returned. I really support the town of New Canaan and all of the city workers. You maintain it so beautifully and make it a special place. But that darn machine in the parking lot is so finicky I’m very frustrated by it. Several of my friends have had the same experience.”
—$20 for unpaid space in Morse Court at 11:08 a.m. on Sept. 2
“I am writing to appeal the parking ticket I received on Sept. 8 2016 while visiting a doctor located in the center of New Canaan. When I pulled into the parking lot adjacent to her office I saw a sign that said ‘remember your space number’ but nothing else indicating I needed to pay prior to my appointment. I was in the doctors office for roughly 30 minutes and there was a ticket on my car. I called the number on the ticket and spoke to a woman who was very helpful but couldn’t rescind the ticket and told me I could appeal. Listed below are my reasons for the appeal, which I hope you will consider when reviewing my appeal. 1. I’m not a resident of New Canaan and am not familiar with parking regimes in the center let alone this parking lot. 2. This sign did not indicate that I needed to pay for the space in advance of my visit. There were no clear instructions for someone unfamiliar with parking regimes in New Canaan. 3. There was no attendant that I could seek advice from if I had any questions. 4. There were no parking meters in the lot where I parked. After my visit I asked the office staff how do I pay for parking and was told where the meter were located. I was only in the office for 30 minutes. Please consider my appeal, and may I suggest you have a different sign posted for people like myself who do not frequent your city often enough to know parking regimes.”
—$20 for unpaid space at Morse Court at 10:06 a.m. on Sept. 8
“I work at Shoes N More at 121 Elm St. in New Canaan, my parking was paid until 12:10 p.m. Unfortunately I was with a customer at this time and would not leave the store until they completed their purchase. I came outside at 12:23, 2 minutes after I received a ticket. I paid for parking again at 12:30. I would like this ticket to be revoked as I could not jeopardize my job.”
“I am an out-of-towner who came off S. Ave and parked my car on the drivers side of the sidewalk. I didn’t see any sign stating the time in which I was allowed to park.”
—Four tickets for $20, $40, $30 and $30—at 12:17 p.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:08 p.m. and 1:36 p.m. on Sept. 14 for overtime parking at Morse Court
“Not aware of temporary no parking.”
—$30 for loading zone at 10:37 a.m. on Aug. 17
“I am contesting this parking ticket. I parked behind [Walin & Wolff] for 10 minutes at 1:25 p.m.—came back @ 1:38. No reason for ticket.”
—$20 for overtime parking at Morse Court at 1:36 p.m. p.m. on Sept. 14
“I was parked on Main Street and was moving from there @ 11:30 a.m. to Burtis Street @ 11:35 a.m. The thing I don’t understand is why do I have a ticket on my windshield issued at 12:40 p.m.? Since it’s supposed to be a 90 minutes parking?”
—$20 for overtime parking on Burtis Avenue at 12:40 p.m. on Sept. 23
“Please allow consideration for lack of employee parking and days of street construction blocking access to building parking.”
—$20, $30 and $40 for overtime parking and second and third violations at 11:45 a.m., 12:41 p.m. and 1:07 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Morse Court
“I moved car to other side of street. I did not know you have to leave street for an hour until the parking lady explained it to me.”
—$20 for overtime parking on Main Street at 12:47 p.m. on Sept. 23
“I parked in front of Baldanza and double-checked the space before I left my car, and it appears that it was acceptable to park as it is not in front of a driveway where cars pass nor is it marked with yellow paint or a sign indicating ‘no parking.’ ”
—$30 for obstructing driveway on Elm Street, at 9:34 a.m. on Aug. 19
The fact that the Parking Commission is willing to release appeal letters prior to an appeal being heard shows a blatant lack of fairness and respect for the process. This is a especially true if full letters are not published and words are changed. Much tone and context is lost and has the potential to pre-bias those on the commission who will be rendering judgement. In a court of law it’s highly likely that a judge would toss out a case that showed such adverse bias towards the accused.
Rich, really the only information I remove is if it identifies the appellant or includes medical info, which I think is private. I also do not report whether the ticket has been upheld or voided, specifically because I feel that it’s not possible based on the letter to get appropriate context for the decision. Part of the reason I publish these is to show the wide range of reasons motorists appeal their tickets, because I think it’s interesting.
Michael then The Parking Authority must be providing you with edited letters because one of the recent letters that you published is missing at least 2 paragraphs from the original and words were changed.
Since the letter in question was given to you prior to appeal being heard you would have no way of knowing whether it was upheld or voided.
No that was probably my decision to omit the paragraphs, though I am not sure what those grafs are since I don’t know which one you mean. Sometimes the appeals have not been heard, it’s true. If I changed words it may have been for spelling reasons or because I could not make out the handwriting—it wasn’t to affect the appellant’s case.
Doesn’t it seem a tad untoward that appeals letters are released to the public prior to appeal being heard? It’s really not fair to the
appellant, as it has the potential to bias the decision process. It’s not the money, it’s the principle that matters here.
I request them because parking is such a huge problem and discussion topic in downtown New Canaan—and again, I consciously do it in a way that does not disclose the identity of the appellant. I can tell you that the monthly installments of parking ticket appeals are widely read and my own feeling is they show what a wide range of reasons are given, from legitimate to absurd, and that sometimes you can see trends emerge in the reasons people are appealing (for example, the clunky machines at Morse Court and Park Street Lots, which the town is seeking to replace).