An Open Letter to Parking Enforcement

Written by on May 5, 2011 in Baltimore Voices - 2 Comments

To the Parking Enforcement officer who wrote me and another resident citations on the 2000 block of Gough St. for parking in the cross-hatched area of handicapped parking spots; there are NO handicapped parking spots on the 2000 block of Gough St.

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Now, if you are not familiar with how handicapped parking spots work on a street with side-by-side, back-in angle parking, let me tell you. In this situation, there would be TWO single parking spots between two signs which state “handicapped parking.” One spot is for the handicapped driver’s vehicle, and the other spot, which is cross-hatched, is to provide wheelchair access for said driver to the vehicle.

Both my vehicle and another one, were parked in two separate cross-hatched spots about five parking spots apart. You wrote two citations. However, there were no handicapped parking signs. What is more, there are none on the 2000 block of Gough St. There were signs up until 2 or three months ago, when the holders of those permits surrendered both of them.

The City then quickly came and removed the signs for both of the spots, as readily evidenced by the holes in the sidewalk where the crews cut the sign posts to the sidewalk.

Hence, the two former handicapped parking spots reverted back to four regular parking spots. What the City didn’t do was erase the cross-hatching from the two spots which formerly were the part of the handicapped parking spot used for wheelchair access.

The cross-hatched spot where we parked are now both regular, valid parking spots.

Is it wrong to assume that since you are PARKING Enforcement, you would be strongly familiar with the types of parking you are charged with enforcing? If you had looked around at the whole picture, you may (and I use that term liberally) have noticed that.

Another time, you wrote me another such citation (which was dismissed), and I asked you why you didn’t look at the situation around my car and you told me “that’s not my job.” I’m sorry, I had no idea that when the City hired you, they told you specifically that you were not to use common sense. That’s just blatant, poor job performance.

Do you know what your poor job performance costs? Let me give you an idea. When you write citations like this one, I have to take time out of work, which means I lose leave that I work hard to earn. My department then has to pay overtime to someone to fill my spot while I’m in court disputing this citation.

The City then spends money to process the citation, enter it in the court system, and set me up with a hearing date. It then costs the City money to pay the time the judge spends hearing my case. When I show up with pictures illustrating how much you were not paying any attention to what you were doing, it costs the City for the court costs when the case is dismissed. Since the City has quite an interest lately in cost effectiveness, may I suggest that time would be immeasurably more effectively spent hearing legitimate cases?

Multiply by the number of other people to whom you’ve written such citations, because I’m far from the only one, and you’ve done some real measurable damage to the taxpaying citizens the City depends on to continue living here so it can try to fill its deficit-blighted coffers.

You have cost the citizens of this neighborhood time and money, and you’ve also cost the City money in citations that should never have been written if you had some common sense and had done a proper job.

What is more, is that you have been doing this for at least the past five years in my neighborhood. Does no one hold you accountable? The judges have continually dismissed these ridiculous citations. We have called our City Council persons. We have made complaints to Parking Enforcement. Why do your supervisors not hold you accountable?

Do you know what I do for a living? I am a public service, 911 paramedic. Do you know what my job is? I put people on ECG monitors, and occasionally, I have to shock them. I also start IV’s on people and occasionally, I give some very strong drugs. Do you know what happens if I don’t pay attention? I could really do some damage and hurt someone.

It’s a good thing that my Captain, and the Chief of my department hold me accountable for how I do my job. They didn’t issue me common sense when I got hired, but they certainly make sure I exercise it when I do my job. And do you know what? As a City resident as well as being a public servant, I am really glad that you don’t have my job.

Chris Azevedo
Baltimore

2 Comments on "An Open Letter to Parking Enforcement"

  1. Sarah June 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm · Reply

    They got my bf on E Fairmount too…where there are zero handicap spots on his block. This time they coded it wrong and it was really supposed to be a different citation (roughly $45 vs $500). The citation didnt even get entered into the system for 4 months. When he finally took off time and went to work the officer didnt even show. Jerks

  2. Marlene B May 11, 2011 at 1:25 am · Reply

    Brilliant – and about time too!

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