I have mad parallel parking skills. Seriously, I can fit in spots that seem to be just a sliver of an inch bigger than my car. Granted, I have a short VW Golf, but still. Parallel parking is my thing.
Still, when I read this story about the city of Raleigh’s new found love of writing tickets to drivers who can’t park their cars precisely 12 inches or less from the curb, it seriously annoys me. I mean, it makes sense that cars shouldn’t have their rear ends poking out onto Hargett Street. But the number of tickets written for this offense in 2009 is insane.
The News & Observer reports that:
“The number of $20 fines slapped on cars parked more than a foot from the curb has skyrocketed, from just 379 in 2008 to 4,587 in 2009.”
That translates into $91,000 in fines in 2009, up from $6,325 in 2008, the N&O reports.
OK. So you might be sitting there thinking: “What’s the big deal? Drivers need to learn how to park or get fined.”
Well, consider this.
First, the N&O reports that the 12-inch rule isn’t even listed anywhere on the city’s brochure or website about parking rules.
Next, the N&O reports that the biggest increase started after new white parking were painted on the road in August as part of the city’s preparations for parking meters.
“Motorists park in the newly marked spots thinking that they’re in compliance as long as the cars’ wheels are within the white lines,” according to the N&O.
I can see how the lines might be a little misleading to drivers (take a look at the photo above, which shows off the lines on Fayetteville Street). That said, I’ve definitely been in the car with friends who — after parallel parking downtown — ask me to open the passenger door and see if their close enough to the car.
So, what do you think? Is the city being unfair by intensely enforcing the rule? Or should people just get over it and park closer to the curb?
If you have a minute, it’s definitely worth reading the full N&O story on the issue. It outlines how Durham and Charlotte officials enforce the rule and talks a little bit about why the city has increased enforcement on this issue lately.