Have you ever been nabbed by this parking sign?
This is a parking sign you’ll see everywhere in Parking Ticket Land. It is a no standing violation that restricts parking to certain authorized vehicles. The authorized vehicles will appear on a rider attached to the parking sign. For example, in the picture above, there is a white rider attached to the red no standing sign that restricts parking to vehicles from the “AWM” agency.
Can you beat this parking ticket?
How to beat this parking ticket
In addition to the usual defenses (omitted, misdescribed, illegible required elements and stop drop and skedaddle) here is an entry you should always look out for:
The warrior is must enter the name of the specific agency (or vehicle) authorized to park in the restricted area. If she omits the authorized vehicle, you win upon presenting the proper proof, properly.
What does “AWM” mean?
Once upon a time, a long time ago (2010) the NY Times solved the mystery. Here’s an excerpt from a fascinating article:
Turns out, AWM doesn’t stand for anything at all. The letters were a figment of the imagination of Samuel I. Schwartz, a former traffic commissioner, now a private traffic engineer known as Gridlock Sam.
In the 1980s, he was asked to reserve spaces for certain secretive federal agencies, which did not want to advertise their presence or have their unmarked vehicles identified.
The request was forwarded to the city after a particularly embarrassing intergovernmental episode: F.B.I. agents went inside a building to arrest someone. When they came out with the suspect, their car had been towed.
So the city installed dozens of signs, mostly downtown near the offices of the F.B.I. and the Secret Service, but also in Midtown for agents of the Postal Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“The people who you shouldn’t know who they are,” Mr. Schwartz said.
“I came up with those letters because I thought it meant nothing and nobody would figure it out and it was in the days before you could Google anything,” he said. (Doing an Internet search for the letters today doesn’t help much. The first result in a Google search is for the Association for Women in Mathematics.)
So out of thin air, Mr. Schwartz made up the AWM designation, which the agencies and, presumably, traffic enforcement agents, all wink at. Robert Cassar, the president of Local 1182 of the Communications Workers of America, which represents traffic enforcement agents, said he doubted most people would park in those spots simply because they are mostly adjacent to government buildings.
“I would bet if you look at the summonses we issue you would find very few for people parking in those spots,” Mr. Cassar said.
Mr. Schwartz said he was unaware of any other fictional agency initials. A number of people have tried to figure out what the letters stand for, he said, but nobody has come even close.
“I just randomly picked the letters and issued AWM permits,” he recalled.”
You don’t want to be nabbed by this iconic, undercover parking sign. But, if you do, always make sure the warrior enters the name of the agency (or vehicles) permitted to park in the restricted space.
Never, ever pay a parking ticket, “No questions asked.”
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