The Parking Commission this month voted 3-2 to uphold a $30 ticket that had been issued to a New Canaan woman who parked in a loading zone on Forest Street. Denise Luccarelli told members of the appointed body at her appeal hearing that she “had all of Forest Street to park on” when she went to breakfast at New Canaan Diner with a friend on the morning of Aug. 19 (a Monday). “And everyone knows where the handicapped spot is, so I knew if I parked two or three car lengths away from the handicapped spot, I would be good,” Luccarelli said during the hearing, held Sept. 4 at Town Hall.
The volunteers who help oversee New Canaan’s Parking Bureau said this month pushed back on the idea of empowering enforcement officers to void tickets once they’ve been written.
Parking Commission Chairman Keith Richey broached the idea during the appointed body’s Sept. 4 meeting, saying that in certain cases—for example, where someone happened to be in a double-parked or otherwise mis-parked vehicle, or was unaware of a loading zone rule—it could make sense to empower the enforcement officer to retract a ticket.
Yet doing so would bring new risks, the commissioners said.
“It puts the officer on the street in an awkward position when the townsperson says look I lived in New Canaan for 39 yrs and I am a senior citizen and I am really important in New Canaan and I think you ought to waive this ticket,” Commissioner Peter Ogilvie said during the special meeting, held at Town Hall.
“Well, if the officer has the legal ability to waive right then and there on the street, the officer is going to feel pretty intimidated by some of these people. I don’t think you want to give that right to the officer on the street.”
According to appeals filed by motorists cited for violating New Canaan’s parking rules, enforcement officers often say on the street that they cannot retract a ticket once it’s printed.
Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg said that the officers already give motorists an opportunity to move or urge a driver to correct the violation prior to issuing a ticket. “They will tell somebody to please move,” Miltenberg said. Commissioner Chris Hering said that changing the Bureau’s practice would just expose the department.
“What we try to do in our role here is to be fair and consistent and I think that we expose ourselves with further leniency,” Hering said.
Officials last week voided a $25 ticket issued to a New Canaan man who parked more than 12 inches from the curb on Main Street downtown one morning this summer. Joseph Somma told members of the Parking Commission during an appeal hearing that he’d been making a quick run from the New Canaan Field Club on the morning of June 24 (a Monday) to Baskin-Robbins to pick up ice cream for kids. A resident of New Canaan for 16 years, Somma spotted one parking space in front of the popular ice cream shop, pulled into it with his new truck and “didn’t realize how bad I did park,” he told the Commission during the Sept. 4 hearing, held at Town Hall. “I did park and I broke the rules.
Members of the Parking Commission at their most recent meeting voted 3-2 to uphold a $30 ticket for a New Canaan woman cited for obstructing two spaces in a municipal lot downtown.
Malia Frame during an appeal hearing before the Commission said she typically backs up her GMC Yukon “a few times before I pull into a space.”
“And then I always check the line on my side but I haven’t been on the opposite side,” Frame said during the hearing, held at Town Hall. “So ever since I got this ticket, I have been checking on the other side and I just realized that I have to be more careful when I straighten up. I’m not saying it didn’t happen—I’m happy to pay the fine. It was just an honest mistake.”
The ticket had been issued at 1:03 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, records show. Seeing a photo of her vehicle for the first time on the night of the hearing, Frame conceded that the Yukon was “ definitely askew.”
“But my problem that day is that I got—I mean I have huge car, I have a Yukon, and it’s every big,” she said.
Saying the change will ease traffic and send a clearer message to non-commercial drivers, officials are recommending that an area on Main Street that serves as a loading zone for half of the day become a full-day loading zone. In addition to extending the time of the loading zone at Main Street and East Avenue, members of the Parking Commission are recommending that the area out front of Organika be striped as a clear signal to motorists, who often are ticketed there. The proposal originated with the Parking Bureau and was supported by a 3-2 vote on the Commission at the appointed body’s May 2 meeting.
As it is now, because the loading zone operates from 7 to 11 a.m. and then coverts to regular two-hour parking, the town can’t indicate beyond signage—for example, by painting the curb or street—that it’s a designated area for trucks, commissioners said. But if the loading zone extends to 3 p.m., more can be done to make it clearer to motorists that they can’t park there during the day. In the afternoon, because the loading zone is not in effect and regular cars park there, “the trucks get there, they are blocking in the cars, they are parking on East Avenue and blocking the traffic going down East Avenue,” Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg told commissioners at the meeting, held in Town Hall.