No free parking here

watchdog

Drivers were ticketed for not feeding the parking meter even though there was no meter for the space

April 12, 2009|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,liz.kay@baltsun.com

THE PROBLEM : A Stoneleigh parking space lacked a meter, yet drivers were still ticketed for parking there.

THE BACKSTORY: Pam Somerville, the owner of Gratitudes gift shop on York Road, keeps dimes on her store counter and a sign on her door reminding customers to feed their meters. But she and others still received tickets for parking in one space in front of her store, even though there was no meter to feed. The meter at that spot was aligned with the stripe between the two spaces but was angled to face the one to the north, leaving the other uncontrolled.

"That was sort of the free space," Somerville said.

Free, unless you consider the three tickets she received, in addition to those written for her daughter Kerry, who wrote to Watchdog in frustration.

After the third ticket - recently raised to $22 - Pam Somerville said she called Baltimore County officials, but they would not forgive the ticket. Her daughter's tickets stated that she had been parked in the space with the meter.

Watchdog contacted Wayne Mixdorf, director of parking for the county revenue authority, which oversees the installation and maintenance of parking meters. He investigated last week and, after confirming that a second meter was needed, issued a work order. A double-headed meter was installed Thursday.

"Now it's very clear - it's a double-headed meter, so there's no free ones," Somerville said.

Baltimore County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said the Office of Budget and Finance Parking Enforcement Division would cancel any tickets written in error for the spot that lacked a meter.

WHO CAN FIX THIS : Robin Kulesza, financial operations supervisor, Office of Budget and Finance, Parking Enforcement Division. 410-887-2777.

need help

Is there something in your neighborhood that's not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing watchdog@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6735.

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