Parking Over the Line - Fair or Foul?



Dear Parking Guru,

I just got a ticket for violating traffic code TC58c - "Not Parked Within Marked Space." What a ridiculous ticket. I was like six inches over, and my car is small. It wasn't even my fault.

The reason I had to park like that was because of the terrible parking job of the guy at the beginning of the block wasting 5 feet of space behind him and screwing up the whole line. But even so, it doesn't make sense, because I counted, and there were 8 spaces, and 8 cars were parked there, and they all got a ticket, even though money was put in the meter.

Can I fight this ticket and win? What do you think of this law?




Dear TJL,

To answer your first question, yes you can fight it.  But, no, you will not win.  But it doesn't mean that we all can't learn something from your $57 mistake. So, you are this week's martyr in the battle of against parking tickets. I agree that when people waste space at the end of a block, it makes it very difficult for everyone else to park, bumpers get hit, relationships get ruined, etc.  However, before you go out and key somebody's car for being a space hog, consider that the situation is not always as it appears. In your case, there may have been a motorcycle parked there initially. When the motorcycle left, there remained the wasted space behind the car, and it only appeared as though the guy parked like a moron. My money is on that he actually did park like a moron, but I was just trying to give a plausible alternative reason as to what happened. Do be glad though that you did feed the meter, because if you didn't, you would have received a ticket for that violation as well.   

Believe it or not, I've been thinking about those white "T" parking lines on the street for quite some time, and I will now share the fruits of my research. What I've been wondering is whether the white line in parking is interpreted like the white chalk lines in sports. And if so, which sport?

If parking rules are like baseball, and your tire is touching, or your bumper is over the white line, it is a fair ball, and you would not be cited for a violation. If the parking white line is like the white out of bounds line in football, if your bumper or tire is even one inch on the line, you are out of bounds.

What do you think?  Ask your sports junkie co-workers.  Or better yet, read the answer down below first, then ask them, and bet them a round of drinks if they are wrong. 

I asked several people on the street, and it was 50-50.  I went fairly far up the food chain of DPT and got the answer. Parking is like football.  If your bumper or tire is an inch over white line, you are out of bounds and you will have to give $57 to DPT instead of Trader Joe. The actual wording states that you are in violation if you park "other than in a designated Parking Space, or across any demarcation of the boundaries of a Parking Space, or in any manner such that the vehicle is not entirely within the area demarcated for the Parking of a vehicle of the Parking Space." 

It makes sense that parking rules are more like football, as the act of parking feels that way sometimes too.  Like George Carlin said: 

Baseball is played in a park, and the idea is to be safe at home...Football is played in places like War Memorial Coliseum...and the object is to fight your way into the end-zone...even if it comes to sudden death.

For more philosophical and metaphorical musings about parking, please click here.


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