I’m not going to pay it—would you?

On November 13, I got a parking ticket for parking too close (50") to a nonexistent crosswalk in front of my house where I have parked most days for the past six years. I disputed the $25 ticket on the grounds that it was stupid. I got a call from the parking magistrate yesterday (isn’t that a very important sounding title?!) saying that the ticket was in fact valid because the official definition of a crosswalk does not exclude a regular unmarked place where there is a sidewalk that ends at the street—you know, where someone might “walk across.” They have agreed to accept a reduced fine of $15 which will increase to $30 if not paid within two weeks. My only other option is to appear in court.

(Note: Ignoring the issue is not an option. Too many credit reports have been damaged by seemingly mundane things like parking tickets and overdue library books.)

I was ready to pay the $15 because I have clearly wasted much more than $15 or even $25 worth of energy on the matter. However, as I was driving home from work last night, I saw a gazillion or so cars parked within 20 feet of a “crosswalk” (20' is rather far!) In fact, if this rule was taken seriously, it would eliminate about 20% of the parking spaces in my dense urban neighborhood. Another thing that I find incredibly frustrating is that the city-enforced parking meters in town are aligned in a way that would put a car much, much closer than the 20 feet they claim is necessary.

So, what should I do? I know that life isn’t fair, but this seems ridiculous. Obviously, this issue isn’t really about money anymore, but would the satisfaction of “winning” this case worth the trouble?  

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.