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DC wants to keep its WWI memorial: The Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia wants a national World War I memorial, just in Pershing Park rather than on the District's existing World War I memorial. (WAMU)

Audit for Union Station management: Union Station management will undergo a federal audit if two members of Congress have their way. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton "doesn't know enough to say there's something wrong, but what's worse than that is not knowing anything." (Times)

Death in Rockville crash: Five drivers, including a Metrobus operator, were involved in a major accident on Rockville Pike. One person was killed and a dozen more injured. No cause is yet known. (WAMU)

Shady deal in Catoe's Metro: A Metro manager hired a friend for $140,000 in a noncompetitive manner and fired a whistleblower for complaining to then-GM John Catoe, according to a report by WMATA's Inspector General. (Times)

An avalanche of tickets: In fiscal year 2011, DC issued 1.6 million parking tickets - roughly six per minute - according to AAA. To AAA, this amounted to "no mercy", while DPW said such enforcement was necessary to ensure parking turnover. (Times)

Think of the tourists: Tourists have special transportation needs that aren't currently addressed by the region's disparate agencies and land jurisdictions, but they should be built into the regional transportation plans. (RPUS)

Madrid swaps highway for park: A corridor that once was a major highway is now a six-mile long park through the heart of Madrid, reviving once-dead neighborhoods and returning a river to the open air. (New York Times)

Battle of the buses: MegaBus has petitioned the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to break up BoltBus, a joint project between Greyhound and Peter Pan bus lines, arguing the regulations that allowed the BoltBus partnership are out-of-date. (Bloomberg)

Core capacity for BART: BART, Metro's California cousin, is looking at its future and it may sound familiar to some of us - increased core capacity. But also like Metro, BART doesn't have the money to do it. (San Francisco Chronicle, Chris G)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast living in Mount Vernon Square. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin

Comments

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I saw the parking ticket on tv this morning, its dumb frankly. If you park illegally then don't be surprised if you get a ticket. A complete non-story other than the quirk of the volume since the story I saw at least assumed that the tickets were still legitimately handed out.

by Canaan on Dec 29, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

I saw the parking ticket story on tv this morning, its dumb frankly. If you park illegally then don't be surprised if you get a ticket. More tickets were issued this year than last year but there is no evidence that this is due to error or malice just that parking enforcement is becoming more strict.

by Canaan on Dec 29, 2011 10:39 am • linkreport

Sorry, feel free to delete either one of those duplicative comments

by Canaan on Dec 29, 2011 10:39 am • linkreport

San Francisco should have enough money to fund improvements to core capacity, just as DC should. They should either raise property taxes on commercial and rental properties that benefit economically from proximity to transit, or upzone around stations and collect increased property and sales tax revenue from the new development. DC could do this along Georgia Avenue and pay for the streetcar.

by Steve on Dec 29, 2011 10:50 am • linkreport

@Steve: San Francisco *can't* raise property taxes - they're handcuffed by Prop 13.

by EdTheRed on Dec 29, 2011 10:53 am • linkreport

According to AAA, DC should thank drivers for gracing the city with their presence, not issue tickets for such silly things like "speeding" or "illegal parking." Those uppity DC residents clearly do not understand their proper place.

by Crickey7 on Dec 29, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

Online poll about the proposed taxi legislation is here, courtesy of Mary Cheh. Vote for your favorite color on which to standardize taxis, or pass along your view that standardizing the colors is a waste of time. (There's also an open comment field).

by Arl Fan on Dec 29, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport

Metro's got core capacity issues, but BART's are much, much worse. 4 of the system's 5 lines pass over the same portion of track downtown, and like Metro, it's primarily a two-track system. This limits headways on each line to an absolute minimum of 15 minutes per train.

BART's breadth is approximately the same as Metro's (~100 miles of track), but has half as many stations, and perhaps more tellingly, half as many riders. It's rarely used for intra-city trips, as the infrequent schedule and high fares make such trips impractical.

All in all, BART's an incredibly odd system. You've got to wonder what they were smoking when they planned it. San Francisco must be pretty glad that they never opted to dismantle their light rail and streetcar network, since BART doesn't really serve the residents of the city itself all that well.

by andrew on Dec 29, 2011 11:15 am • linkreport

I don't know that we should be holding up the Madrid Rio park/highway project as a shining example of an urban renewal project. The project cost $5 Billion ($4.5B to bury the highway, $0.5B for the park). This project is a primary contributor to Madrid's unsustainable debt level and it's overall financial situation which is the worst of any major city in Spain.

If anything, Madrid Rio should be a cautionary tale of how NOT to renew urban areas.

by Falls Church on Dec 29, 2011 11:16 am • linkreport

Madrid did not swap away the freeway- it's still there but intelligently upgraded and undergrounded:

http://cos-mobile.blogspot.com/2011/05/madrid-spain-reclaims-riverfront.html

So much for the myth that freeways don't belong anywhere within cities.

by Douglas Willinger on Dec 29, 2011 11:17 am • linkreport

Steve,

Prop. 13 in California might make it too difficult raise property taxes. To understand California you have to understand Prop.13, and to understand Prop.13 you have to understand California.

by RJ on Dec 29, 2011 11:31 am • linkreport

Re the "Madrid park" story: it cost $5 billion. Not saying that was badly spent, but that is a lot of money. That article compares the project to the "big dig fiasco"...

by goldfish on Dec 29, 2011 11:33 am • linkreport

Could SF levy a special income tax for people who live in areas close to the transit improvements? Basically, a location based income tax but not a tax based on the value of real estate, which would go against Prop 13.

by Falls Church on Dec 29, 2011 11:40 am • linkreport

Fall Church,

Then you run into the CA's Community Redevelopment Law. California's tax system is greatest cluster F in the world. This is why you never allow mandatory referendum ballot propositions, it creates nothing but disasters.

by RJ on Dec 29, 2011 11:50 am • linkreport

Raise taxes for BART or METRO?! Why? It was TAXPAYER dollars that built these two systems to begin with. These advocates of special tax districts amuse me. Let's get METRO's financial house in order first...show they can manage the system and personnel and benefits...and then maybe new funding would not be necessary. The comment above about BART is right..little used, few stations, quite dangerous at many stops, quite often filthy. That is the path METRO is on because the same ingredients are there...too much management, over generous union contracts and benefits...and little or no attention to riders and their needs. With the economics being what they are in California and with the Federal Budget all we may one day have left is a shell of a system. In BART's case that day is nearly here.

by Pelham1861 on Dec 29, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

That woman who is accused of hiring a friend, funneling sham business to him, and firing a whistleblower is the same woman who said that WMATA's web revenue was more important that turning over schedule data to Google.

So long Sarah P. Wilson, you won't be missed.

by TM on Dec 29, 2011 11:58 am • linkreport

RJ -

Proposition 13 was not a referendum but rather an initiative.

I have no problem with referenda, which simply overturn an existing law by popular vote, but I do have a huge problem with initiatives, since they do not allow for deliberation on legislation.

by Frank IBC on Dec 29, 2011 12:05 pm • linkreport

@Pelham

You're conflating several issues together - the finance of the capital infrastructure makes sense via land taxation, since the investment adds value to that land.

Financing operations (which seems to be the bulk of your complaint) is a different issue. Conflating them doesn't help.

by Alex B. on Dec 29, 2011 12:25 pm • linkreport

If you park illegally then don't be surprised if you get a ticket.

There's more to the story. A lot of tickets are issued simply as the result of officer error or incompetence. It's really quite true that the issuance of parking tickets is merciless. A systemic change is necessary. The parking ticket program should be used to enhance public safety in our city (for everyone who uses the streets, even drivers), not as a business for generating revenue.

by Scoot on Dec 29, 2011 12:47 pm • linkreport

Re tickets: My only ticket from the last two years was clearly wrong, issued at a downtown spot on a day that I am sure I was not there. Didn't know about it until I get the notice in the mail increasing the fine, after the deadline had passed to contest the ticket. If this is business as usual, I'd say that AAA has a point.

by goldfish on Dec 29, 2011 12:53 pm • linkreport

Also, the ticket payment amnesty program does not extend the time period to contest a ticket, but merely extends the time period to pay a ticket. This is clearly a problem.

On top of that, Mary Cheh (Ward 3) wants to consolidate all fines penalties owed to the city (including parking tickets) into one central office that can more easily leverage credit-killing collection agencies to collect the money owed. This consolidation is an obstacle to proper adjudication of erroneous tickets based on the rationale that the District is owed $X millions of dollars in penalties and fines, much of it from erroneous parking tickets that never should have been issued in the first place. I would definitely say the AAA has a point.

by Scoot on Dec 29, 2011 1:10 pm • linkreport

First of all, I love the combination of Falls Church's comment followed by Douglas Willinger's above. It's like they were working together to prove FC's point.

Crickey7, don't you know that if there were no speed limits and people could park anywhere they wanted at any time, the morning rush hour would only last 15 minutes. It's basic math.

by David C on Dec 29, 2011 1:11 pm • linkreport

@goldfish

It's not perfect, but DC has a ticket notification service:

http://dmv.dc.gov/serv/ticket/EmailTicketAlertService.shtm

It will let drivers know any time their license plates get hit with a speeding, red light, or parking ticket. It's good for those situations where the ticket falls off or is removed from the car (*cough* valet attendants *cough*).

by Adam L on Dec 29, 2011 1:29 pm • linkreport

It looks like BART is starting to learn - it'll be open on New Year's until 3am.

by OctaviusIII on Dec 29, 2011 2:14 pm • linkreport

This tells us all we need to know about METRO management and why wholesale change should take place...a total house cleaning:

"Sara P. Wilson, then assistant general manager in Metro’s communications department, hired Marc M. Caposino, with whom she had worked at San Francisco’s transit system, in December 2009 after Mr. Caposino fell deeply into debt, the report said. Metro paid Mr. Caposino a $140,000 annual salary, a $10,000 signing bonus and $20,000 in relocation money in a move that was approved by General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. and Chief of Staff Shiva Pant despite multiple red flags."

Since when to bureaucrats get a signing bonus and $20,000 in re-location dollars? Please spare us, on this website, any more cheer leading for METRO.

by Pelham1861 on Dec 29, 2011 2:18 pm • linkreport

ALEX B: There is no 'conflating' going on in my argument. There is no need to raise taxes for properties benefiting from METRO...one is a happenstance of the other...and again...you cannot justify new taxes to fund METRO if you don't look at the daily...rampant incompetent and wasteful management. METRO management is a disgrace...how about fighting that battle and then see if more taxes are required down the road. I doubt it.

by Pelham1861 on Dec 29, 2011 2:22 pm • linkreport

Comparisons between BART and Metro are tricky. BART functions even more like commuter rail than Metro. SF has Muni (a different bureaucracy) which, if memory serves, includes buses, and trolleys (some of them "trackless" trolleys that also run on tracks) as well as regular commuter rail. And then there are the cable cars. SF, for the most part, is built at higher densities than DC, and I'd imagine that partly because of that, BART functions less for people in the central city than Metro. I've been to SF numerous times and I've only ever used BART to get from the airport to downtown or to get from SF to Berkeley, whereas I've used the various Muni modes and even the cable cars many times. When I talk to locals they rarely mention BART but complain bitterly about Muni.

by Rich on Dec 29, 2011 2:49 pm • linkreport

Actually, I think parking tickets absolutely should be used a source of revenue for a city. Land in cities is very valuable and parking spaces take up A LOT of space in any city. Charging people appropriate fees for use and missuse is completely reasonable.

by Cassidy on Dec 29, 2011 3:04 pm • linkreport

Instead of "appropriate fee" I should have written "market rate fees."

by Cassidy on Dec 29, 2011 3:05 pm • linkreport

Read a similar article to the Times parking ticket piece in the Examiner (do they have a mutual plagiarism pact, I wonder?).

In any case, they were extremely careful to interview mostly DC residents who took issue with DC's strict parking enforcement. While there's no doubt a handful of DC residents who would sooner we went without the $80 million some-odd dollars in ticket revenue, as Townsend admits, parking enforcement is the number one requested city service. I'm sure many of these folks came of age in an era when DC was effectively lawless (you could park wherever you liked, add a couple of new floors to your house without a permit, etc...), and the fact that laws actually get enforced these days is a shock.

While *parking* may be the "No. 1 complaint of people who live, shop, dine and work in Washington," it's more likely that the *lack* of parking enforcement is the number one complain of people who live here. Most of my neighbors are quite happy that fines for parking enforcement comprise a very effective de facto commuter tax, and wish enforcement were even *more* efficient.

While I'm sure it makes AAA feel good to diagnose the problem as one of parking shortages, that ain't gonna change. As regional population increases, and as DC's population grows (as does it's number of households, and therefore, cars) it's only going to get worse. You can take Metro, or you can park in a lot.

by oboe on Dec 29, 2011 3:16 pm • linkreport

@Rich
BART and Metro were built around the same time by some of the same people, so I think "cousins" is pretty accurate. It was going to be more of an intracity system, with a line going out to the western bits of the city, then north across the Golden Gate, but that got cut late in the process.

The Bay Area's transit systems are extremely balkanized, and one of the major gripes for SF advocates is the lack of infill in BART. For the East Bay, it's the principal mode of rapid transit. AC Transit's buses work, but not terribly well.

by OctaviusIII on Dec 29, 2011 3:19 pm • linkreport

@Adam L: thanks for the link. Dunno if and when I will need it, but thanks.
@Cassidy: the typical fine for a parking ticket is $50, and can go up to $200 for parking on a snow route during a snow emergency. AFAIK there is no garage in DC that charges $50 for a day of parking. The fines are many times the market rate.

by goldfish on Dec 29, 2011 3:23 pm • linkreport

@Please spare us, on this website, any more cheer leading for METRO.

Pelham, you read the link about metro on this website, what should GGW have done other than provide the link? I imagine "not" being a WMATA cheerleader would mean that GGW would publish an article casting damnation on WMATA for allowing this to happen???? Seems like your gripe is way out of proportion to what has been published here. They even called it "shady." Yet, you still complain? How about you spare us that.

And to tell you how bad journalism and the "national discourse" has gotten, what exactly does Capisono's debt problems have to do with his job at Metro? Nothing at all. It simply made for a much juicier story. Completely irrelevant.

Also, I can't say with certainty that 20g's is standard relocation dollars. But I can say that it's standard for "bureaucrats" to receive relocation allowances.

by HogWash on Dec 29, 2011 3:31 pm • linkreport

WHen DC was "lawless" as Oboe puts it so charitably, ticket revenue was still a giant revenue source. Always has been, always will be.

And a suspect a large portion is tourists and visitors. Signs are confusing, but residents usually figure them out. The idea that the parking police are enforcing "available" is nonsense. Without getting more granular, I'd guess a large portion of those tickets are rush hour violations. $100 a pop.

DC ticketing seemed down earlier this year, and I don't see rush hour enforcement as vigirous as it was. As usual, commerical vehicles are among the worst offenders.

by charlie on Dec 29, 2011 3:33 pm • linkreport

@Rich, MUNI, formerly and possibly still formally the San Francisco Municipal Railroad, runs the streetcars, light rail trains (underground and surface), cable cars, electric buses, and standard transit buses in the City of San Francisco, and that's it.

The "regular commuter rail" line serving San Francisco is operated by Caltrain, a quite different entity from MUNI and from BART.

The real reason BART functions less for people in the city is that it has essentially only one line with eight stops there, and four of them are basically downtown-terminal stations. Metro, by contrast, has 40 of its 86 stations in DC, making it actually useful for getting around as opposed to getting downtown from a handful of neighborhoods.

by davidj on Dec 29, 2011 3:36 pm • linkreport

Apparently, BART was originally supposed to replace some or most of MUNI's network downtown, and also serve Marin County (who supposedly never actually wanted to be part of the system). A lot of the underlying assumptions that went into the planning of the system turned out to be misguided, incorrect, or unrealized.

Escalating costs prevented a downtown BART network from actually happening, and San Francisco was left with a disjointed network of transportation modes and agencies (which should really serve as a warning for the direction that the DC region is headed). Muni's Market Street Subway was originally built to be a part of BART, but reverted back to Muni after BART failed to be built out to its original planned extent.

Then, there was also the completely insane decision to build BART's rails to conform to Indian Broad Gauge (which even India doesn't do for its Metro systems), which makes the maintenance and expansion of the system very expensive, and completely prohibits interoperability with any other rail transit system.

by andrew on Dec 29, 2011 3:43 pm • linkreport

"The fines are many times the market rate"

And they need to be, if they are going to have any deterrent effect.

by Fred on Dec 29, 2011 3:52 pm • linkreport

Most of my neighbors are quite happy that fines for parking enforcement comprise a very effective de facto commuter tax, and wish enforcement were even *more* efficient.

I'm actually fine with that as well, but I'm not fine with inappropriate or illegal enforcement, of which there is a lot.

First the city cites a violation and then makes the owner jump through a bunch of ridiculous hoops to try and prove innocence. I've been down that road. Interestingly, it's incredibly easy to pay a traffic fine but rather convoluted to properly contest one.

Then the city lumps all unpaid fines together as "lost revenue" (a laughable term) and proceeds to take legislative action based on those numbers....because, you know, our financial woes would be alleviated if we could just figure out some way to coerce people into paying tickets that should never have been given in the first place.

I don't have a problem with the city enforcing its traffic laws properly and considering the revenue as "user fees" but improper and inappropriate enforcement is a rampant problem in this city and should be addressed.

by Scoot on Dec 29, 2011 4:02 pm • linkreport

@charlie:

WHen DC was "lawless" as Oboe puts it so charitably, ticket revenue was still a giant revenue source. Always has been, always will be.

Logically, we're either at a period of historically high enforcement, or we're not. If the former, then it's a sign of DC's institutional dysfunction slowly healing itself. If the latter, there's no news story.

by oboe on Dec 29, 2011 4:06 pm • linkreport

First the city cites a violation and then makes the owner jump through a bunch of ridiculous hoops to try and prove innocence. I've been down that road. Interestingly, it's incredibly easy to pay a traffic fine but rather convoluted to properly contest one.

I've been "wrongly" ticked exactly once, and that was because my temp registration had fallen off my dashboard, and wasn't visible. I contested it via the DMV website, uploading a scan of my proof of registration, and it took about 15 minutes. I don't doubt there are occasional errors, but I imagine most of these are in the "everybody's got an excuse" category.

by oboe on Dec 29, 2011 4:14 pm • linkreport

And before you say, "But most tickets are thrown out on appeal!" That may be true, but the most likely reason for that is that the appeal process is costly. It's easier to just tear up the violation:

http://onbeat.org/dc-parking-tickets-can-we-say-offbeat-thank-you/

(You actually get a sense of what constitutes an "unfair ticket" in the linked piece, where the author protested their ticket because the No Standing signs were at either end of the block. I had to walk across the street to find the Parkmobile ID number for my space the other day. Would it have been unfair if I'd gotten a ticket?)

by oboe on Dec 29, 2011 4:30 pm • linkreport

One more. Note the opening paragraph:

It’s a familiar sight for many drivers. You see it under your windshield wiper from a distance, but you’re not sure what it is. A flier? A ticket? You were just a few minutes late!

(http://wapo.st/ntEthU)

Yes, Virginia, if you're a couple of minutes late, I hope you get a ticket.

by oboe on Dec 29, 2011 4:33 pm • linkreport

I suppose we all have our anecdotal experience. I've been improperly cited on a number of occasions (3 or 4 off the top of my head). I went into court for one or possibly 2 of them (it was some years ago). The rest I mailed in. As I recall they took a while to write up because there was some legal research involved. If your case is fairly cut and dry then your experience could be different. When I went into court it usually required taking a day off from work.

I sold my car a while back so the online system is something I've not dealt with. If it makes contesting tickets easier then I'm all for it.

But let's steer clear of assuming that drivers are receiving tickets because they "deserved" them.

by Scoot on Dec 29, 2011 4:34 pm • linkreport

@ oboe, the piece you posted makes some good points. If you submit any kind of documentation you're likely to have the fine reduced. It's a good tip. However those fine reductions are not counted as a win because the adjudicator has the discretion to maintain the citation but adjust the fine.

It is indeed true that the adjudicators are worked to the bone, and on top of that, are dealing with a lot of folks who stroll into the courtroom wearing their pajamas and are chatting on their cell phones when they take a break from mouthing off to the adjudicator. Going to traffic court is about 10 times worse than going to jury duty. :-/

by Scoot on Dec 29, 2011 4:44 pm • linkreport

@Scoot,

Didn't say that all drivers deserve them, but in the absence of compelling evidence otherwise, the simple answer is that, yes, most tickets are deserved. Mine have been. People who I know who've gotten tickets and feel aggrieved about it nearly always have some beef with the law, not the ticket-writer (e.g. "I got a ticket for parking in Zone 6 for more than two hourse, but I moved my car to a different space!")

Incidentally, the online appeals process really is pretty great. And registering for notices is handy too.

by oboe on Dec 29, 2011 4:45 pm • linkreport

RE: Metro corruption

Good article (really!) by the Times. I just wish they'd post a link to the primary source report by the IG. It sure isn't on the WMATA IG site.

I'm glad McBride got his job back, even though it's because the board considers his work indispensable. Not a good idea to have someone working for you that you can't replace if they up and leave.

by ChrisB on Dec 29, 2011 5:40 pm • linkreport

@Oboe; parking enfrocement continues in DC as a giant racket. There is usually one article a year on how bad it is.

The only "news" element is problems with adjucations and appeals. I know that a ticket I appealed took about nine months to process. That was about a year ago, and from the linked article it sounds as if there are still problems on that end.

That and the amnesty.

by charlie on Dec 29, 2011 5:50 pm • linkreport

From the linked story:

...[T]he city collected $50.1 million in parking fees I n the first eight months of fiscal 2011, putting it on pace to break the fiscal 2010 total of $80.4 million and the fiscal 2009 total of $70.7 million.

I don't doubt that, as the AAA spokesman says, that ticketing is unpopular with visitors, people who work here, and even some DC residents who drive a lot. The same is true with speed and red-light enforcement.

If there's widespread illegal ticketing, that's one thing. If scofflaws just find it unpleasant to be ticketed, that needs to be solved at the ballot-box, if it can get popular support among DC residents.

But as you said, the only real meat in this particular story seems to be that DC writes a lot of tickets. I would hope that would be the case. It's a great source of non-resident revenue, and without it our streets would be chaos. Personally, I think we should increase enforcement until we hit the point of diminishing returns.

by oboe on Dec 29, 2011 6:07 pm • linkreport

Re: Parking Tickets

What exactly is the "market rate" for parking tickets? Does that mean that if you block a fire hydrant and someone's house burns down your fine should be like $300K?

Fines should be high enough and vigorously enforced enough such that they are sufficient deterrent -- i.e., it changes behavior to the extent that the behavior is no longer a serious problem. Considering that LACK of parking enforcement is the #1 complaint, I'd say we're not at that point yet.

Making parking into a de facto "tourist tax" is not such a good idea. Tourists bring a lot more revenue to the city than they use in services, so they are net benefit. If you start discouraging tourism with a "tourist tax", you won't actually come out ahead.

by Falls Church on Dec 29, 2011 6:36 pm • linkreport

Re: Parking Tickets

I say the more the better! Until the cost of parking on public space equals or exceeds that of private garages we need the ticket revenue to offset some of the loss DC taxpayers are incurring for providing this "amenity".

by JeffB on Dec 29, 2011 9:53 pm • linkreport

I would not call BART "little used." It has half as many trips as WMATA, but nearly the same number of passenger miles. It's much more of a commuter system than an intra-city system.

Average trip length on WMATA is about 5.7 miles, average trip on BART is 12.8. If BART had the same number of trips as WMATA it would be way overcrowded at rush hour. Average passenger load for the two systems is about the same - 24.5 for WMATA and 22 for BART.

by MLD on Dec 30, 2011 8:46 am • linkreport

@Falls Church

Considering that LACK of parking enforcement is the #1 complaint, I'd say we're not at that point yet.

It's not quite that simple, however. People often complain about a lack of enforcement, but then they advocate for parking policies that are extremely difficult to enforce.

For example, parking time limits without any metering are very hard to enforce. The meter does two things: it provides a financial incentive to move your car, and it also starts the clock ticking, meaning that the enforcing officer only has to check the car once to verify a violation, rather than checking it once at the start (to chalk tires, or something similar) and again to check at the end of the stated time period.

by Alex B. on Dec 30, 2011 9:31 am • linkreport

Didn't say that all drivers deserve them, but in the absence of compelling evidence otherwise, the simple answer is that, yes, most tickets are deserved.

There is some compelling evidence that drivers don't deserve them -- the high overturn rate in adjudication. If half of tickets challenged are overturned as error, then how many tickets overall are given in error? Probably fewer than half (people are unlikely to challenge a ticket if they don't believe it's in error), but most likely a significant plurality. Even a 20% error rate would be pretty abysmal.

by Scoot on Dec 30, 2011 10:21 am • linkreport

There is some compelling evidence that drivers don't deserve them -- the high overturn rate in adjudication.

Sure, but it's equally likely that the city simply errs on the side of dismissing any ticket that's challenged. That would be the case if defending them was costly.

People are extremely likely to challenge a ticket if they know there's a 50-50 chance of it being dismissed. Especially if the adjudication process is painless and free (as the new online process is).

by oboe on Dec 30, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

Not saying it's impossible that all these tickets are being issued in error, just that if they were, a lot more residents would be a lot more outraged. I can count on one hand the number of my friends and acquaintances who get parking tickets on a regular basis. And every one of them has a, shall we say, "flexible" sense of law-abidingness.

For as long as I've lived in DC, I've lived in neighborhoods with highly-constrained, on-street parking. If widespread abuse by parking enforcement folks were the case, it'd be an ever-present thread at cocktail party chatter. It ain't, so it's not. (In Chicago, where private tow contractors would tow your car into an illegal spot, take a photo, then drag it to some post-apocalyptic yard at the fringes of the city, it was an ever-present topic of conversation.)

Here ends my scientific analysis.

by oboe on Dec 30, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport

Easy way we suburbanites who have the unmitigated audacity and gall to bring our despised, gas-guzzling, space-taking, single-occupant vehicles into DC can stiff the predatory DC "government" and its apologists and collection agencies:

Park in a garage or on a lot. Support a tax-paying, job-creating privately-owned business. Whenever off-street parking is available, don't even bother to look for a space on the street.

If you must park on the street, park ONLY where you can use the Parkmobile service (look for the signs) and opt for the maximum amount of available time. Set a reminder on your cell phone so you don't forget to move your car or add more time when your time is up.

When you park on residential streets, be considerate. Don't double-park and don't block anyone's driveway. Whenever I park on my girlfriend's street, I move my car a couple of times just to free up the space.

Many DC residents are anti-car and are downright hateful of outsiders who bring cars into "their" city, totally oblivious to the fact that DC is the nation's capital and a tourist destination and employment center. Let's not give the predatory government and the haters the satisfaction of taking our money and/or potentially damaging our vehicles with booting and towing. Many, including some here, would like nothing more. So be careful.

by ceefer66 on Dec 30, 2011 1:27 pm • linkreport

Easy way we suburbanites who have the unmitigated audacity and gall to bring our despised, gas-guzzling, space-taking, single-occupant vehicles into DC can stiff the predatory DC "government" and its apologists and collection agencies:

Park in a garage or on a lot. Support a tax-paying, job-creating privately-owned business. Whenever off-street parking is available, don't even bother to look for a space on the street.

If you must park on the street, park ONLY where you can use the Parkmobile service (look for the signs) and opt for the maximum amount of available time. Set a reminder on your cell phone so you don't forget to move your car or add more time when your time is up.

When you park on residential streets, be considerate. Don't double-park and don't block anyone's driveway. Whenever I park on my girlfriend's street, I move my car a couple of times just to free up the space.

Many DC residents are anti-car and are downright hateful of outsiders who bring cars into "their" city, totally oblivious to the fact that DC is the nation's capital and a tourist destination and employment center. Let's not give the predatory government and the haters the satisfaction of taking our money and/or potentially damaging our vehicles with booting and towing. Many, including some here, would like nothing more. So be careful.

PS,

The Captcha's are getting more and more ridiculous (try to outguess "nj)} unndlo") and the "spammer" insinuation is a bit much.

by ceefer66 on Dec 30, 2011 1:33 pm • linkreport

Shorter @ceefer66:

"Park according to the law, and be respectful of others."

Now if y'all would just slow down and drive the speed limit, imagine how pissed off the anti-car car-haters of DC will be.
The very thought has me seeing red.

:)

by oboe on Dec 30, 2011 2:37 pm • linkreport

"Oboe; parking enfrocement continues in DC as a giant racket. There is usually one article a year on how bad it is."

So let's cut back on parking enforcement and watch the chaos that develops. There will be far more than "one article a year on how bad it is."

by Fred on Dec 30, 2011 3:40 pm • linkreport

I live in DC, and drive in DC, a lot and I couldn't disagree more with AAA on this one. How on earth are parking ticket writers supposed to show "mercy." They see a car in a wrong zone, or an expired meter, they write the ticket, and move on. They are not detectives, they don't have the time to investigate the exact circumstances of why each and every car is parked the way it is.

Do they sometimes get it wrong. Yes, but you have some alternatives including a written appeal and a hearing. The written appeal costs you about 5 minutes of your life, the hearing about an hour. Or you can just pay the fine and chalk it up to a cost of owning and driving a car, like an oil change.

In seven years of nearly daily driving and parking in this city, I have gotten exactly 2 parking tickets that I felt were improper. In one case the sign was missing, I appealed by mail and lost. In the other case the ticket was issued after the parking restriction period, I went to a hearing and won.

Now with the Park Mobile system, there is really no excuse for ever getting a meter ticket. The system actually alerts you when the meter is running out and lets you add time via your phone! It doesn't get any simpler than that.

In fact, do you want to know my biggest complaint with parking enforcement in this city? Not enough of it. It is frustrating to come home with a car full of stuff and not be able to find a spot on your street, park several blocks away, and walk by multiple cars parked without zone stickers.

So I say, thanks for the 1.6 million tickets, lets shoot for an even 2 million in 2012!

by dcdriver on Dec 30, 2011 6:06 pm • linkreport

"Many DC residents are anti-car and are downright hateful of outsiders who bring cars into "their" city, totally oblivious to the fact that DC is the nation's capital and a tourist destination and employment center."

Indeed, "their" capitOl:

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2010/09/washington-dcs-supreme-bridge-builder.html

by Douglas Willinger on Dec 31, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

DC residents--like residents of any municipality, urban, suburban, or rural--elect representatives that will govern in *their* interests. At least that's the idea. If you're waiting for DC voters to support policies that will disadvantage them to the benefit of non-voters, you're going to be waiting for a long, long time.

If you think a massive development spurt of super-highway construction inside of DC would be a boon to DC residents, you should make that case. Conspiracy-theories and the like won't cut it.

by oboe on Jan 1, 2012 2:18 pm • linkreport

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