My Life as a Parking Criminal

The Milford station (of the MetroNorth commuter rail) has been under construction for what must be over a year now. They’ve actually made some pretty good progress on the station, but since no one knows what they’re planning to do, it’s hard to say when it will all be done. They have put Lot 2 back together somewhat – people can park there again! They’ve also put back some of the spaces in Lot 1, mostly by keeping the construction vehicles out of the way. They’ve also created some confusion about parking, which is where my Rant starts.

[This is entirely a local Rant, with very little impact to even local people of CT, but it’s a Rant all the same. Those of you that have been following my Rants from the beginning have already heard about the on-going issues with the Milford Transit Authority and the Milford Police Department – today we have an update to my morning parking crimes.]

Along the left side of the lot, there’s always been “opposite-side” of the street parallel parking. When the cab stand was at the train station, the four spots directly in front of the station house itself were reserved for the taxis; the rest of that side was fair game for parking. When construction started, they tore up the curb, got rid of the cab stand, and the entire side, aside from four spots, into a “No Parking Zone”. They put up two signs to declare the zone, but were sort of vague as to the limits of the zone – there might have been only three spots to park in, but I’m pretty sure it was four. Anyway, the spots were stripped because the oversized vehicles needed the entire driveway to get through the parking lot; makes sense, right?

About two weeks ago, some of the construction workers made me move my Jeep – I was parked in one of the legal four spots, for a change – because they had to work on that side of the lot. When I came back that night, there was a new curb installed. 24 hours later, there were fresh white parking lines on the pavement, denoting about twelve “new” spaces. That following morning, since people weren’t yet aware of the new spaces (CT commuters are typically either completely awake – and there by annoyingly chatty – or mostly asleep and on auto-pilot) I was able to park without swearing in two languages and producing bile. I parked there for about five or six days in a row. That’s also where I got my most recent ticket.

See, the construction workers put down the line for the spaces, but never took down the No Parking signs. Now, no parking zones, by law, have to have other markings, in addition to the signs, just like our handicap spaces. A painted yellow curb or some other markings to denote the “No Parking Zone”. Stores all have them; so do other parking lots. So here you have marked parking spaces, in a lot heavily under construction causing almost daily changes, but we’re supposed to know that it’s not real parking? The Milford PD seems to think so. Another $10 ticket. Oh, and no one else parking there has been given a ticket on any of the days since. This was one of those times when they made a random pass through the lot – they do that about once a quarter, but my luck at guessing the day is uncanny – mostly just to hand out tickets for whatever reason. Of course, this caused another trip to the PD’s building, where I filed another formal protest for the ticket. I’ll lose again – I’m sure of that – but this is the principle of the thing because I was following the rules this time. Wait, I followed the rules last time, so I guess it is the same type of situation. This one, however, I’m willing to escalate beyond the local PD, but I don’t think I can. Unlike a speeding ticket that you can bring to a judge for argument, I don’t think there’s any legal recourse beyond the “official” protest, that the local chief considers for a couple of days. At this point, given all the crap this particular PD has given me, I’m tempted to submit my payment in pennies. Let them deal with the counting, since they want their $10 so badly. I’d even push it to $50, if they’d just leave me alone. Adding insult to injury, some teenagers were having a fund raising drive near the lot a few months ago to raise money for the Milford PD – they aren’t getting a dime from me… I should ask them for a refund, the next time they’re there.

The true irony of the whole thing is that a week after I get the ticket, I saw this morning that the No Parking signs aren’t there anymore.

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