Blogging for Change

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?