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Tickets for Blocking Sidewalk


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I received one of these this morning. I know that I was in violation and will pay the fine but I have a serious problem with the law. The "reason" that is given for this law is that it allows the handicapped in wheelchairs to use the sidewalks. Not where I am in the Heights. Where my street's sidewalk intersects the cross street it is a curb drop-off (no ramp). Good luck if you're in a wheelchair.

So I get a ticket for directing those in wheelchairs to a safe path and in a few weeks we'll hear about some poor soul going off the curb on my street. rolleyes.gif:D

I'm sure someone on the street reported that multiple cars were parked down the block who were in violation. The city's answer for people going 50mph down my street is to ticket the parked cars.

Now for an actual question, is there any ordinance out there that would keep me from blocking my own driveway with my car?

Edited by Hartmann
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No offense, but I'm glad to hear they are starting to ticket for blocking sidewalks in the heights. It's hard enough to try and walk on our patchwork sidewalks without cars blocking them as well!

I'd have to research the actual ordinance, but yes it's very common to get a ticket for blocking the sidewalk in Houston or any other city for that matter. It's more common in Montrose and the more "urban" areas of Houston, but glad to hear it's being enforced in the Heights as well. I'm sure you would be ticketed for blocking your own driveway as well, because I "think" there has to be a buffer distance to all curb cuts, not just intersections. Plus how would parking enforcement know it was your car? You would probably be pretty upset if it was someone else doing it and like them to get ticketed/towed?

Quick search of the city's website (not the ordinance but has some basic info):

"Sidewalks are for pedestrian use: City of Houston Code prohibits parking a vehicle on any portion of the sidewalk at any time. Many driveways in Houston include the sidewalk, considered the public right-of-way. Avoid a citation for this violation by leaving the sidewalk portion of your driveway clear."

http://www.houstontx.gov/parking/parkingtips.htm

fyi... My neighbor got a parking ticket in front of his house ('No Parking' signs posted) so they are actually enforcing all the parking rules in the Heights now so be careful. The sign has been there for years, but they never ticketed until now. Probably because the streets are starting to get crowded.

I'll be right there with you paying the $65 parking ticket I got in Montrose this weekend. :)

Edited by Urbannomad
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http://abclocal.go.c...ocal&id=6168534

"But Alvin Wright the City of Houston Public Works Department said that isn't good enough. State law prohibits drivers from blocking sidewalks.Wright explained, "A person in a wheelchair... You're forcing a person who has their baby in a stroller to actually use the street to get through. That's not fair. That's not right."

If the idea is to not block the public right of way then people who have shrubs, trees, debris, etc. blocking it need tickets as well. Then there are the places where the sidewalk is in complete disrepair. Most of the sidewalk on my street is not walkable and one street over is completely blocked by low hanging tree limbs. A hypothetical, if someone's car is blocking the grass where a sidewalk would be had the city built one (but stopped one driveway short) are they in violation? If so, I've gotta tell my neighbor to move his car :D

Again, I understand that I was in violation, there is just a lot of problems with the justification of the law. Part of it is me just being frustrated with the city in their inability to handle issues that my neighbors and I have brought up to them multiple times. Just needed to vent. Of course this happens on my day off and while I was inside for a couple of hours before running more errands. :P

Edited by Hartmann
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I received one of these this morning. I know that I was in violation and will pay the fine but I have a serious problem with the law. The "reason" that is given for this law is that it allows the handicapped in wheelchairs to use the sidewalks. Not where I am in the Heights. Where my street's sidewalk intersects the cross street it is a curb drop-off (no ramp). Good luck if you're in a wheelchair.

So I get a ticket for directing those in wheelchairs to a safe path and in a few weeks we'll hear about some poor soul going off the curb on my street. rolleyes.gif:D

I'm sure someone on the street reported that multiple cars were parked down the block who were in violation. The city's answer for people going 50mph down my street is to ticket the parked cars.

Now for an actual question, is there any ordinance out there that would keep me from blocking my own driveway with my car?

I am quite sure your neighbors or a nearby dog walker reported you. Until a couple of weeks ago, I partially blocked my sidewalk nearly every night for 3 years. It was still passable, which may have kept anyone from calling on me, but illegal nonetheless. I guess I am lucky to have nicer neighbors.

I am curious, though, why speeders and crumbling infrastructure makes you feel that you should have been given a pass?

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I am curious, though, why speeders and crumbling infrastructure makes you feel that you should have been given a pass?

I don't feel like I deserve a pass, I was just pointing out that I think the law/enforcing the law is kind of dumb while the sidewalks crumble. I was attempting to be funny at the same time. I see I failed on both fronts. :P

Also, I do think it was someone walking a dog or a neighbor. There are four or five houses very close that have cars blocking the sidewalk.

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If you are still interested here is a link to the city's "CODE OF ORDINANCES." Pretty boring stuff but you can use the search to find what you want.

http://library7.municode.com/default-test/home.htm?infobase=10123&doc_action=whatsnew

Bottom line though... you, like me, will still have to pay the ticket. Though technically my wife parked the car so it's her ticket, even if I did tell her the sign said it was okay to park there. :unsure:

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I once got three tickets, in three consecutive days:

Day 1: Parking the wrong direction. Paid it, on line the same day. Got pissed.

Next Day: Blocking the sidewalk... but just barely. Paid it, on line the same day. Now I'm really pissed.

The Next Day: Parking more than 18 inches. Got my measuring tape. Depending on how you measured... 17 3/4... or 18 1/32. Screw'em. Didn't pay it. Still haven't paid it.

Eventually that parking cop stopped harassing the neighborhood. This was near the Hawthorne apts at the Westheimer curve...

All this happened about 8 years ago. No blocked registration. And apparently no warrants for my arrest, because I've been stopped several times since then...

My advice: pay the first two tickets, but no more after that.

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I am quite sure your neighbors or a nearby dog walker reported you.

That's just what I thought when I saw the title of the thread. There's a reason certain blocks seem to get special attention for minor infractions.

My advice: pay the first two tickets, but no more after that.

My advice: don't take his advice.

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Interesting...while some of the houses on my street have sidewalks, my house doesn't have a sidewalk in front of it, nor do the two houses on either side of me. My immediate neighbors and I all park in our driveways in such a manner that we would be blocking the sidewalk, if there was one. Are we in violation of the law, or do we fall in a loophole? Could someone circumvent the law by removing the sidewalk in front of their house?

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That's just what I thought when I saw the title of the thread. There's a reason certain blocks seem to get special attention for minor infractions.

Yeah, I don't mean a next door neighbor. More like one from a block or two away who walks down your street and gets annoyed at the 4 or 5 cars blocking the sidewalk until they finally call it in.

My advice: don't take his advice.

True. They boot after the 3rd ticket, so the better practice is to not pay the FIRST 2 tickets. They do not issue arrest warrants, no matter what Heard, Linebarger says, and they do not block registration for parking tickets. Only the boot, and if they don't find you on city streets, they don't boot you.

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"But Alvin Wright the City of Houston Public Works Department said that isn't good enough. State law prohibits drivers from blocking sidewalks.Wright explained, "A person in a wheelchair... You're forcing a person who has their baby in a stroller to actually use the street to get through. That's not fair. That's not right."

Interesting quote.

Am I reading this correctly? Is it the City's stance that it's not fair and it's not right that people with baby strollers and the elderly and disabled are FORCED to use the street in our neighborhood, since there are no sidewalks? Or does that only apply in neighborhoods with sidewalks?

That's it, I'm calling the Texas Hammer: Jim Adler.

;)

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Interesting...while some of the houses on my street have sidewalks, my house doesn't have a sidewalk in front of it, nor do the two houses on either side of me. My immediate neighbors and I all park in our driveways in such a manner that we would be blocking the sidewalk, if there was one. Are we in violation of the law, or do we fall in a loophole?

if there's no sidewalk, then there's no problem. Not sure i would call that a loophole.

Edited by musicman
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There is a house on studewood that has a truck blocking the sidewalk almost everyday. Its really close to antidote. Its really annoying because at one point their yard had long grass and overgrown shrubs and etc. so you had to walk through it, which was really annoying( especially in the summer wearing sandals and shorts).

This really bugs me when i'm illegally riding my bicycle on the walkway.

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I received one of these this morning. I know that I was in violation and will pay the fine but I have a serious problem with the law. The "reason" that is given for this law is that it allows the handicapped in wheelchairs to use the sidewalks. Not where I am in the Heights. Where my street's sidewalk intersects the cross street it is a curb drop-off (no ramp). Good luck if you're in a wheelchair.

So I get a ticket for directing those in wheelchairs to a safe path and in a few weeks we'll hear about some poor soul going off the curb on my street. rolleyes.gif:D

I'm sure someone on the street reported that multiple cars were parked down the block who were in violation. The city's answer for people going 50mph down my street is to ticket the parked cars.

Now for an actual question, is there any ordinance out there that would keep me from blocking my own driveway with my car?

I saw that happen on an episode of Parking Wars. Seems legit. Same situation, and the lady complained to no avail.

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In my neighborhood, they ticket if you're parked less than (15' I think) from a stop sign. They also ticket for blocking sidewalks, even if it's your spare tire on the back. Parking in front of the hidden fire hydrant will result in immediate towing.

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I wonder if the city has just gotten aggressive with ticketing and booting as of late.

Perhaps people have gotten so out of control on the limited parking spaces they have, that perhaps they had to put more manpower behind it. I'm starting to see the COH Parking enforcement at all hours and neighborhoods for in increasing amounts over the past few months.

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how far does someone has to be from your driveway for street parking? My driveway opening is very narrow so when someone parks right next to my driveway, it makes it difficult to get out, my parents got wedged in onetime in their F250 because between the car next to the driveway and the one accross the street blocking a fire hydrant they couldn't get the angle to turn.it required a 10+ point turn and driving over the curb a few times. I know street parking is open, and i don't care if people park there, just stay a few feet away from my driveway!

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^That happens at my folks' place sometimes - they have a narrow driveway and there had been a lot of construction nearby so big trucks and trailers were all over the place. Add the people across the street with the enormous driveway yet still street parking directly behind their driveway and it made for some creative exits.

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Agreed, me too.

We should get the cops out in force on the bikers using the sidewalk illegally! For as much as the bikers complain about the cars, us lowely pedestrians really ought to raise a stink about the bikers running us pedestrians off the sidewalk.

And I can third the getting blocked in on a narrow street one. One of my neighbors ALWAYS has folks over and they always park behind my driveway, and it makes for an interesting turn. On more than one occasion I have had to intentionally back off into the ditch and then use 4wd to pull myself back out...its annoying, but there is no law against it...just common courtesy, which appears to be out the window now a days.

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We should get the cops out in force on the bikers using the sidewalk illegally! For as much as the bikers complain about the cars, us lowely pedestrians really ought to raise a stink about the bikers running us pedestrians off the sidewalk.

Never seen a cyclist run a pedestrian off the sidewalk yet, but I basically agree with you that bikes should stay on the street. Very rarely it just makes more sense to hop up on the sidewalk.

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I wonder if the city has just gotten aggressive with ticketing and booting as of late.

Perhaps people have gotten so out of control on the limited parking spaces they have, that perhaps they had to put more manpower behind it. I'm starting to see the COH Parking enforcement at all hours and neighborhoods for in increasing amounts over the past few months.

Nah.. It's MONEY! :ph34r:

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i'm not certain, but i don't think its actually illegal to ride bikes on most of the sidewalks in the heights because there has to be like 300 collective feet of business buildings on both sides of the street within a 600 foot stretch to qualify as a business district, otherwise its legal (i think).

Of course you are also supposed to register your bicycle...

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i'm not certain, but i don't think its actually illegal to ride bikes on most of the sidewalks in the heights because there has to be like 300 collective feet of business buildings on both sides of the street within a 600 foot stretch to qualify as a business district, otherwise its legal (i think).

Right, so you're okay in some neighborhoods.

Of course you are also supposed to register your bicycle...

Which is actually impossible. Trust me, I have tried. The fire departments are supposed to have a form (they don't) and they can't even produce the form if you go to City Hall.

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i'm not certain, but i don't think its actually illegal to ride bikes on most of the sidewalks in the heights because there has to be like 300 collective feet of business buildings on both sides of the street within a 600 foot stretch to qualify as a business district, otherwise its legal (i think).

Of course you are also supposed to register your bicycle...

I thought they got rid of the bicycle registration ordinance.

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BICYCLE REGISTRATION - This Ordinance is no longer effective and no longer required in the City of Houston. HFD no longer offers this.

This document says bikes should be registered: http://documents.publicworks.houstontx.gov/documents/divisions/planning/bikeway/bike_safety_booklet_eng.pdf

Yet here is a Free Press Houston article saying that they did indeed repeal it http://www.freepresshouston.com/archive/2008/11/mayor-of-montrose-repeals-houstons-city.html ahh fun

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Well apparently he hadn't either, so we were on even footing. I'm having trouble tracking down what the ordinance number was though....

i think danielpwils is a step ahead since he was aware of the ordinance repeal.

pops right up.

*Editor's note: Ord. No. 2008-968, § 2, adopted October 29, 2008, repealed Division 2, §§ 45-311--45-319 in its entirety. Formerly said division pertained to registration and derived from Code 1968, § 46-289; Ord. No. 72-1598, §§ 1(1)--1(9), 9-6-72; Ord. No. 72-2309, § 1, 12-20-72; Ord. No. 74-1732, § 1, 10-1-74; Ord. No. 92-1449, § 64, 11-4-92.

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pops right up.

*Editor's note: Ord. No. 2008-968, § 2, adopted October 29, 2008, repealed Division 2, §§ 45-311--45-319 in its entirety. Formerly said division pertained to registration and derived from Code 1968, § 46-289; Ord. No. 72-1598, §§ 1(1)--1(9), 9-6-72; Ord. No. 72-2309, § 1, 12-20-72; Ord. No. 74-1732, § 1, 10-1-74; Ord. No. 92-1449, § 64, 11-4-92.

Thanks!

Edited by kylejack
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I received one of these this morning. I know that I was in violation and will pay the fine but I have a serious problem with the law. The "reason" that is given for this law is that it allows the handicapped in wheelchairs to use the sidewalks. Not where I am in the Heights. Where my street's sidewalk intersects the cross street it is a curb drop-off (no ramp). Good luck if you're in a wheelchair.

So I get a ticket for directing those in wheelchairs to a safe path and in a few weeks we'll hear about some poor soul going off the curb on my street. rolleyes.gif:D

I'm sure someone on the street reported that multiple cars were parked down the block who were in violation. The city's answer for people going 50mph down my street is to ticket the parked cars.

Now for an actual question, is there any ordinance out there that would keep me from blocking my own driveway with my car?

I can understand how frustrating this is...I live on Bayland and we have to be very careful when parking two cars deep. What drives me nuts is that rarely do people even use the sidewalks...half of them are walking in the middle of the street.

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I have two choices for parking:

1. In my tiny driveway1/3 of it which is sidewalk

2. blocking my driveway from the street

Both are probably illegal. I've parked both ways, never getting a ticket despite the frequent visits of the cops to a neighbor's place.

I'm on a small side street without much traffic but still I worry about it with 4 months left in my lease.

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I am quite sure your neighbors or a nearby dog walker reported you. Until a couple of weeks ago, I partially blocked my sidewalk nearly every night for 3 years. It was still passable, which may have kept anyone from calling on me, but illegal nonetheless. I guess I am lucky to have nicer neighbors.

I am curious, though, why speeders and crumbling infrastructure makes you feel that you should have been given a pass?

(I think I have posted this on here before....)

You never know - we lived in an apt. for 4 years in the Montrose area where parking is putting two cars end to end, going over the sidewalk. Then, after 4 years, a cop started ticketing for EVERYTHING - blocking the sidewalk, parking on the street for more than 24 hours, parking too far from the curb (I didn't get one of these, lol), etc.

It got so bad we had to move because the neighborhood was not safe enough and the nearest legit parking might be 2-3 blocks away.

I think those landlords should be required to point out to tenants that one of the 'two' parking spaces they tell you about is in violation of the law.

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You never know - we lived in an apt. for 4 years in the Mont rose area where parking is putting two cars end to end, going over the sidewalk. Then, after 4 years, a cop started ticketing for EVERYTHING - blocking the sidewalk, parking on the street for more than 24 hours, parking too far from the curb (I didn't get one of these, lol), etc.

Yep, yep, yep.

From my calculations... this harassment, perpetrated upon us at the Hawthorne apts... came at about 7:00 a.m. every morning. I would usually leave the apt at 7:30. Then 7:15. Finally, one day, at ~7:05 - I saw the evil doer myself. She was one block down from us. Putting tickets on everything. I finally moved from that place. Tired of the noise from Club Rainbow... and the parking situation.

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i thought about this post this morning when i saw 2 cop cars pulled over at that (gawd-awful-ugly) Q-something business next to the old tamale factory. there was no one else present but one cop opened the front door of their big, annoying crane thing and they were looking around it. at first i expected to see broken glass, i.e. someone broke in to it, but as i drove past it seemed they were just checking it out. i looked for a ticket on it later and there wasn't one.

honestly, i would really like to see them ticket that truck and the cars at the rental property behind 11th street cafe. i can't walk down studewood to get anywhere because both sidewalks are blocked on either side of the street and i sure as skippy ain't taking my kids in a stroller in to studewood. i have to walk over to beverly and cut down. beverly is safer but it also doesn't have sidewalks.

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Thought I'd post this from the Texas Transportation Code to show that there are a number of areas (other than on a sidewalk) where parking is prohibited. The one many may not know about is "within 30 feet on the approach to a [...] stop sign".

Sec. 545.302. STOPPING, STANDING, OR PARKING PROHIBITED IN CERTAIN PLACES. (a) An operator may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle:

(1) on the roadway side of a vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street;

(2) on a sidewalk;

(3) in an intersection;

(4) on a crosswalk;

(5) between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within 30 feet of a place on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless the governing body of a municipality designates a different length by signs or markings;

(6) alongside or opposite a street excavation or obstruction if stopping, standing, or parking the vehicle would obstruct traffic;

(7) on a bridge or other elevated structure on a highway or in a highway tunnel;

(8) on a railroad track; or

(9) where an official sign prohibits stopping.

( b ) An operator may not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger, stand or park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle:

(1) in front of a public or private driveway;

(2) within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;

(3) within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection;

(4) within 30 feet on the approach to a flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic-control signal located at the side of a roadway;

(5) within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to a fire station and on the side of a street opposite the entrance to a fire station within 75 feet of the entrance, if the entrance is properly marked with a sign; or

(6) where an official sign prohibits standing.

( c ) An operator may not, except temporarily to load or unload merchandise or passengers, park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle:

(1) within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing; or

(2) where an official sign prohibits parking.

(d) A person may stop, stand, or park a bicycle on a sidewalk if the bicycle does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic on the sidewalk.

Sec. 545.303. ADDITIONAL PARKING REGULATIONS. (a) An operator who stops or parks on a two-way roadway shall do so with the right-hand wheels of the vehicle parallel to and within 18 inches of the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

=

As an editorial note, when I posted this, the editor changed the paragraph indicators for ( b ) to a smiley face and ( c ) to a copyright symbol -- I changed them back but it changed them again, so I had to put spaces between the parentheses and the letters -- anyone know how to turn that off?

Edited by heights
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I called HPD dispatch a couple times when I used to live by 2nd Baptist. Every Sunday a car parked at Woodway and Winrock (across from the church).

He parked at the corner of the intersection, facing the church, in the right hand turn lane (at a stop light).

So to make a right hand turn you had to illegally turn from the left hand turn lane.

Nothing ever happened.

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I called HPD dispatch a couple times when I used to live by 2nd Baptist. Every Sunday a car parked at Woodway and Winrock (across from the church).

He parked at the corner of the intersection, facing the church, in the right hand turn lane (at a stop light).

So to make a right hand turn you had to illegally turn from the left hand turn lane.

Nothing ever happened.

Not surprising. There are very few patrol officers that are interested in writing parking tickets, and most are probably not aware of all of the violations. Not all of them are listed on the pre-formatted parking ticket book. There is an "other" box where the less-common ones can be written, but again, the officer has to have the knowledge that it is actually a violation.

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Not surprising. There are very few patrol officers that are interested in writing parking tickets, and most are probably not aware of all of the violations. Not all of them are listed on the pre-formatted parking ticket book. There is an "other" box where the less-common ones can be written, but again, the officer has to have the knowledge that it is actually a violation.

Speaking of, what's the best way to get parking tickets written? 911 is obviously not appropriate, I doubt 311 will work. HPD non-emergency number? Or is there a parking violation service?

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I think if you can get the number to the parking division over at the GRB that would be the best way to go.

There is a pretty good chance you'd get a positive response, they like to feel like they are loved.

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Not surprising. There are very few patrol officers that are interested in writing parking tickets, and most are probably not aware of all of the violations. Not all of them are listed on the pre-formatted parking ticket book. There is an "other" box where the less-common ones can be written, but again, the officer has to have the knowledge that it is actually a violation.

When we lived in Midtown, there was a guy who parked 18 wheelers on the street for literally weeks at a time. I had officers tell me on several occasions that there weren't any relevant offenses on the ticket books they had. I finally ended up writing a letter to the Captain for our district, which got results. A few multi-hundred dollar tickets got the trucks moved. I ended up making copies of the ordinance, which I freely passed out to officers, who then occasionally wrote tickets.

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I think if you can get the number to the parking division over at the GRB that would be the best way to go.

There is a pretty good chance you'd get a positive response, they like to feel like they are loved.

GRB? George R Brown? I'm confused...

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