Read about the winner of our Worst Parking Ticket Story contest -- and my fight for justice
Update: We asked for your crazy parking ticket stories, Denver, and you delivered! But alas, only one story can win a $25 Smart Card -- and that story was penned by Harvey, whose meter-maid ex-wife liberally exercised her ticket-writing powers, post-divorce.
See below for Harvey's full story -- and read the comments for lots more! As a bonus, check out the latest in my own ticket saga.
First, here's Harvey's tale of love (and parking tickets) lost:
My ex-wife is a parking enforcement officer. Just after our divorce, she kept driving by the house and writing me parking tickets for parking more than 18 inches from the curb. It's a judgment call, so it's hard to fight, but by the third ticket I'd had enough. I brought copies of all three tickets in to fight the last one, and explained the circumstances of our relationship. The magistrate questioned her on how she could tell it was over 18 inches without any frame of reference. She just said, "I know 18 inches when I see it"... and I responded, "well, that explains our divorce." We all looked at each other and started laughing. Ticket dismissed.
As for my ticket, which was waiting on my windshield when I emerged from a LoDo bar in a haze of karaoke glory (see all the glorious details below), it hasn't been dismissed -- yet.
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This morning, I visited a parking magistrate in the Wellington Webb Building, 201 West Colfax Avenue. After taking a paper ticket from a red dispenser of the type usually found at deli counters, I had a seat. Though the lobby was crowded, I barely waited five minutes before my number was called.
Standing before the parking magistrate, who was seated behind a high desk, I explained my situation. If it's true that the meter wouldn't accept money past 10 p.m., he said, it may be broken. He promised to investigate and handed me a form to fill out.
The form asked for my license plate number, ticket number and address. In the section labeled "Citizen's Statement," I wrote my side of the story (sans karaoke details). The magistrate explained that I now must wait thirty days for a response in the mail. I'll be sure to update you, dear readers, when I hear back.
After turning in the form, which the clerk stamped in a very official way, I walked across the lobby to the parking ticket cashier's counter to pay another ticket, one I'd gotten a few days later for parking in front of my house on street-sweeping day. That one, I'm guilty of.
Original item, Thursday, June 23: Getting a parking ticket sucks. Especially if you don't know why.
Do you have an annoying, confusing or downright bad-luck parking ticket story? Write it in the comment section below. We'll pick the best one and award the winner a $25 Smart Card, good for any Smart Meter. Park on, Denverites! But first, check out my weird story.
Earlier this month, I was at a LoDo bar near 22nd and Larimer streets, rocking the karaoke. I'd arrived at 8:30 p.m. and found a parking spot right in front of the bar. Hello, VIP! Always a law-abiding citizen, I inserted my credit card into the Smart Meter belonging to my parking spot and enthusiastically pushed the + key.
A sticker on the meter said payment was required until 10 p.m. -- and sure enough, the Smart Meter wouldn't take more than an hour and a half worth of money. Satisfied that I'd done my civic duty, I headed into the bar, where I wowed the crowd with renditions of "Ice Ice Baby" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
When I emerged from the bar three hours later, after fighting my way through a throng of adoring fans, I found a little yellow envelope beneath my windshield wiper. What, what? I thought. I paid the meter! But not according to the ticket.
"Flashing Expired," it said by way of explanation. The time on the ticket was 10:17 p.m. My fine? $25.
How can that be? The meter wouldn't accept money after 10 p.m.! Confused, I jumped online and wound up on the city's "Know Parking" website. (Get it? It's a joke.) I knew that Denver City Council had recently approved overnight parking downtown, but I wasn't sure of the exact rules. I clicked on "Parking Downtown," which redirected me to the Downtown Denver Partnership's website -- which apparently hasn't been updated in quite some time. That site still notes that parking between 2 and 6 a.m. is prohibited.
Luckily, the "Know Parking" website also lists directions for how to contest a ticket -- directions I intend to follow.
Because misery loves company. And because we want to know about other parking mysteries in Denver, leave a comment with your story below. Please remember to include your e-mail address in the e-mail field (we won't share it with anyone, promise) so we can contact you if you're the winner. Contest ends Monday, June 27, at 5 p.m.
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