Last Updated on July 21, 2017 by Lawrence Berezin
Another NYC parking sign ambush
Joe drove to the Dollar Store on Saturday to buy some party items for his daughter’s birthday celebration. After circling the block for a few minutes, he came across an empty parking space in front of the store. He checked the parking sign, which appeared to allow parking on Saturday. Since Joe knew the life expectancy of an empty parking space, so he immediately parked his chariot.
Joe read the parking sign that regulated his parking space again. He read the sign as follows:
No Standing, trucks unloading only, on Monday-Friday 7A-10A and 4P-6P. In other words, Joe considered the white Truck Loading Only sign as a rider to the red No Standing sign.
Did Joe read this NYC parking sign correctly? Sadly, according to one parking ticket warrior, Joe was wrong. The warrior read the parking sign as restricted the curb space to Trucks Loading only, all days/all hours. Yikes!
Here’s a copy of the parking ticket that the warrior issued to Joe.
Joe fought the good fight
The original judge found Joe guilty. Here’s the judge’s decision and order:
The respondent has been charged with violating Traffic Rule 4-08(k)(2) by standing or parking a vehicle where a posted sign reads No Standing Except Trucks Loading and Unloading. Respondent claims that the summons incorrectly describes the sign posted at the cited location. Pursuant to Traffic Rule 4-08(a)(1)(i), “one authorized regulatory sign anywhere on a block, which is the area of sidewalk between one intersection and the next, shall be sufficient notice of the restriction(s) in effect on that block.” Respondent’s claim is not supported by persuasive evidence. Submitted photos do not identify the address on the summons. NYC DOT record shows sign as cited on summons at the location.
Joe asked Larry B (that’s me) for my opinion about the meaning of the NYC parking sign
I read the parking sign and totally agreed with Joe’s interpretation. So, I offered to appeal the unjust decision (no charge).
[alert type=”info” icon-size=”hide-icon”]Here’s the appeal I prepared for Joe:[/alert]
Click to enlarge
Here are some suggestions to improve Joe’s original defense statement:
- Always certify your defense statement. Remember, the parking ticket warrior certified his testimony (consisting of the data entered on the parking ticket). Here’s how: ” I hereby certify:____________________________Then at the end of your statement state: “I certify that my testimony (statement) was the truth to the best of my knowledge. I fully understand that if my testimony was willfully false, I am subject to punishment”
- Always certify your photographs and images. For example, “I certify that the photograph of my license plate was taken shortly after this parking ticket was issued and represents exactly how my plate appeared on the date/time this parking ticket was issued”
- Joe submitted some excellent photographs of a parking sign on a block but did not connect the photographs to the place of occurrence. The place of occurrence was Front of 92-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard. There are several acceptable ways to connect the photographs to the place of occurrence. For example, take overlapping photographs of the entire block starting with the street sign and extending the entire block showing the addresses of the buildings behind the sign. Or, use Google Maps and the DOT parking regulations map
- Our burden on appeal is to persuade a 3-judge appeal panel that the original judge made a mistake of law or fact based on the evidence considered at the hearing
- We were lucky that the original judge stated in his opinion that he looked at the DOT parking regulations map to view the parking signs that regulated the place of occurrence
- This opened the door for me to submit screen grabs of the parking sign that the judge looked at on the DOT parking regulations map
- This allowed me to connect the photographs Joe submitted with the place of occurrence
- Plus, it allowed me to argue that the white truck loading sign and the red no standing sign should be read as the red no standing sign limiting the hours the truck loading only, rule was in effect. Why else have the no standing sign display the hours in effect if the correct interpretation was that the truck loading rule was in effect all days and all times?
How would you interpret this NYC parking sign? Do you agree with Joe and me? or do you agree with the original judge
[Larry’s note: Joe’s appeal is pending. I’ll tell you of the outcome in about 30 days].
[alert type=”danger” icon-size=”hide-icon”][Great news. We won our appeal. Joe’s unjust ticket was dismissed and justice was served].[/alert]
Gordon Wood says
First, let me congratulate you on defending a case that should not need to be contested in the first place. Communication and focus on the points need your special kind of skills and should not be expected for free.
What you say to narrowed it down to an appeal based on an error of interpreting the law surfaces the initial ambiguous unfairness well as even more compelling to expose the error.
By creating, what you quite rightly refer to as, Ambiguous Frankenstein signage, that at best is just lazy workmanship, is cause for culpable inevitably causing innocent people to be tricked into illegal parking; And hence become poorer in favor of the City Bar (Municipal kind selling the Parking )
In this case too, supporting the cognitive skills to decipher such an ugly mess of timeframes, positioning modes and vehicle classes, in three separate signs of differing symbolic standards. are unreasonably and would take excessive time to digest, let alone decide what to do in the moments allowed.
So the fact that the driving public is expected to decipher such a crossword puzzle mix and make a decision makes it all highly questionable.
Such an instruction to a front line soldier or my intuitive kids would surely and swiftly see them all in deep trouble or dead. If I ran my sporting club schedule that way I would be dead. On that basis alone it is invalid
Leaving aside your very good arguments, which should win they day for Joe, I suggest that if the city spent 5 minutes and just thought through the signage, it would make everyone’s life so much easier and a save the angst and cost.
On the positive side, there is no logic in building a metal spaghetti tree of old and new signs and taking 2 or three days to figure out an addendum just to save pulling down and replacing the old metal already up.
What I think they meant to say was, “In the Arrowed zone, only trucks can stand and load, at given times.” That could be shown in one sign, something like this.
Monday to Friday
7 am- 10 am
4 pm-6 pm
Monday Wednesday Friday
Midnight – 3 am
All Other times
(I am not sure what Truck Loading means but it is irrelevant for Joe) Even so, I tried creating this as a picture which took me a couple of minutes more
With something like that, Joe certainly would not have had a doubt and would not have parked there at all. Hence I say DOT has no case.
Without the ambiguity, he also would not have wasted time on a lost cause that at this stage seems have kept a parking warrior, 4 judges and who know’s how many city administrators wasting time and money on this.
Instead, they would all be doing something useful like making clear the parking orders in the first place.
So my answer to your question Larry is, with your help Joe has a very good case to get an unfair decision changed.
If not, given “No Standing trumps No Parking”, then maybe the next step could be to seek a “45 Executive Order” issued by the standing trump.
Good luck with the result.
Lawrence Berezin says
Now I remember what I’ve been missing, Mr. W…Your wonderful, thoughtful comments under the general category of the absurdity of life in NYC. I love it…Always totally wonderful to hear from you and your thoughtful thinking. Hope all is well with you and your family…Don’t be a stranger! Regards, Larry
Nestor Troncoso says
First of all let me congratulating you for this wonderful blog that gave us so much information bout those nasty parking tickets. My name is Nestor, and I would really appreciate if you take a look of my case. I’m recently had tow and a Parking Violation in one of the street in Manhattan. Please email me to your soonest convenience. Thank you.
Lawrence Berezin says
Hi, Nestor…Sorry I couldn’t formulate a winning defense to your parking ticket. Regards, Larry
Do you recall the outcome of this appeal? I incidentally happened to get the same ticket on the exact same block in 2018, and lost my appeal in a 2-1 verdict. Unfortunately I had not come across this post in time. Just curious whether your (better) appeal was successful in overturning the fine.
Really appreciate all the help you provide!