Town Upholds $30 Ticket for Woman Who Parked Against Bike Rack on Elm

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Here's where it happened. She parked to the right of the bike rack seen here. Credit: Michael Dinan

Town officials last month voted unanimously to uphold a $30 ticket for a Wilton woman who parked against a bike rack downtown and then claimed that there were no lines in the roadway indicating she couldn’t do that.

Told that a temporary line already had been painted around the bike rack at Elm Street and South Avenue when she parked there on the afternoon of Oct. 25, Katherine Cornbrooks said to members of the Parking Commission at their most recent meeting that “there was no line.”

“There was nothing drawn,” she said during her Jan. 10 appeal hearing at Town Hall. “It was all scraped away. There were no lines. Nothing painted.”

When Commission Secretary Pam Crum noted that Cornbrooks’s car could be seen parked directly over a painted line in a photograph the town had on file, she said, “You can see a picture of my car?”
Cornbrooks continued, “I thought that was just, I didn’t know that was supposed to be a line. It’s really thin. I didn’t know that was a line. It looked like you were just redrawing stuff. Why would I know?”

The Commission voted 5-0 to uphold the fine for parking in a no parking zone, with Crum, Chairman Keith Richey, Peter Ogilvie, Stuart Stringfellow and Chris Hering voting in favor.

In making her case, Cornbooks said she had a doctor’s appointment in New Canaan and went to get a cup of coffee afterwards, parking on Elm Street against “what I thought was a metal gate to mark the end of the parking.”

“But there was no line and I parked there,” she said. “I think it used to be a parking space, because it was not near a corner. And apparently it was a bike rack which I didn’t know.”

Cornbrooks added that she is not from New Canaan “so I didn’t know you were making a bike area there and I didn’t even know it was a bike rack because of the way it was.”

“So I was gone a couple of minutes, I went across the street, I came back to my car there was a ticket,” she said. “Where I parked used to be a parking spot before they turned it into a bike area. But I did not know they were turning into it into a bike area. There was a sign right there that says two-hour parking 9 am to 4 or 5, so I had no clue it wasn’t a parking spot, which is why I got angry that I got a ticket. If I knew I was parking in a spot that was not legal I would not be here. But I had no idea.”

The Commission spent little time deliberating on the appeal. Richey noted that while “she complained about [how] there were no lines,” Cornbrooks at the same time “also parked vertical on the line.”

Crum added, “And basically on top of the bike rack.”

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