Town Upholds $30 Ticket for New Canaan Woman Who Said Truck Obstructed View of ‘Loading Zone’ Sign


Town officials recently upheld a $30 ticket for a New Canaan woman who parked in a loading zone on Main Street.

Mary McCauley told members of the Parking Commission during her appeal hearing that she’s accustomed to parking on Main Street between East and Locust Avenues for morning sessions at a business that helps people with stretching.

Here’s where it happened. Credit: Michael Dinan

On the morning of March 21, a Thursday, McCauley pulled in near the corner in front of Organika Kitchen and didn’t read signs saying the area was reserved as a loading zone from 7 to 11 a.m. “because I know it’s two-hour parking,” she told Commissioners during their most recent meeting.

“I had no idea it’s a loading zone and could not have known that it was a loading zone, because the truck in front of me was obstructing the sign view,” McCauley said during the May 2 hearing, held in Town Hall. “So when I came out and I had a ticket, I was absolutely shocked because I think I’ve had just one other ticket in the 27 years I have been here.”

Ultimately, saying McCauley should’ve seen a sign posting the loading zone hours at the near side of the area, even if a truck obstructed her view of the one on the far side, Commissioners voted 4-1 to uphold the ticket. Those voting to uphold included Secretary Pam Crum, Stuart Stringfellow, Peter Ogilvie and Chris Hering. Chairman Keith Richey voted to void.

Asked by Crum during her appeal whether she saw the loading zone sign near the crosswalk, McCauley said, “No, I didn’t.”

“And you know what? You look for a spot, you find a spot, you pull in. I don’t analyze the street as you go up,” she said.

When Crum noted that the sign in question “was literally at your bumper,” McCauley said, “No it wasn’t at all.”

“At all, because there was a truck in front of me,” she said. “I don’t look behind me to look at a sign. So the reality is, I didn’t realize that became a loading zone at that hour because I have been parking there for a long time.”

McCauley said when she emerged from her stretching session and saw that a ticket thad been issued at 10:02 a.m., “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t know this.’ ”

“And I was leaving a person was pulling in, and I said, ‘Don’t do it. You’re going to get a ticket.’ So, you know, we all live in this town and we don’t know where every little loading zone is. And quite honestly, there are so few businesses in town. Why are they loading? You still have loading zones for no businesses.”

Asked whether she’d parked in the loading zone before without getting a ticket, McCauley said yes.

Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg, a guest at the meeting, said, “You were lucky because it’s been a loading zone for 20 years.”

During the same meeting, the Commission voted 3-2 to make that loading zone full-day instead of half-day. (During a Police Commission meeting held later in May, officials opted to keep it as-is for now.)

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