After 13 cars on one street got ticketed for no apparent reason, neighbors cried foul—and the city agreed.
The city dismissed all 13 $30 tickets, and the transportation department issued an apology.
It all took place on Thursday.
The trouble began when the city handed out tickets to more than a dozen cars parked on Eld Street in East Rock. The cars were cited for parking in an area that was supposed to be clear for utility work.
Neighbors immediately complained that they hadn’t been warned about the parking ban.
“Apparently every car parked on Eld St. has been ticketed for $30, Code 51,” SeeClickFix user eldstreeter, known offline as Matt Santacroce, wrote online. “No posted or announced parking ban. What’s the deal?”
Santacroce said his Hyundai Elantra was ticketed, along with his fiancee’s Volkswagen Passat. He said his fiancee walked the length of Eld Street after she was ticketed, and finally found one sign behind a tree, and another tucked away at the end of the street.
Lisa Siedlarz, head of the SoHu (aka South of Humphrey Street) Neighborhood Association, sent out an email message saying that the city had posted signs, but only on the morning of the work.
“I think it is outrageous that they did not give 24 hours notice of the ban,” Siedlarz wrote. “And if it was an emergency, how dare they give out tickets when people aren’t home to do anything about it?!”
“Signs were posted adequately the night before,” said city spokesman Laurence Grotheer, “but the wind apparently took them. So the result of that was inadequate notification.”
“I was out until about 10:45 the night before and I didn’t see any posted when I got back,” Santacroce said. Even if they had been up, and the wind had taken them down, “you would see them on the ground and stuff, right?”
“Upon further investigation of this issue, we have determined that the amount of signs was inadequate and have proceeded to dismiss all No Parking citations issued on Eld related to this matter,” wrote the transportation department’s evening parking enforcement supervisor, on SeeClickFix. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”
“Woot! Thanks to all who looked into this. Responsive local government FTW!” Santacroce wrote on SeeClickFix. He was one of several people who praised the city for quick action.
Santacroce also had high praise for SeeClickFix. “That was awesome. That’s the main takeaway from this: SeeClickFix really works.”
posted by: BenBerkowitz on January 24, 2014 2:39pm
This is one of the better Government responses I have seen on SCF. Hi-Five Traffic and Parking.
posted by: elmcityresident on January 24, 2014 4:10pm
EAST ROCK NEIGHBORHOOD THAT’S WHY I WONDER IF THAT WOULD’VE HAPPENED IF IT WAS WINCHESTER AVE, OR KENSINGTON STREET
posted by: Doug Hausladen on January 25, 2014 12:12pm
Thank you for the comments. Mayor Harp has set the priorities of equity in government, no matter neighborhood, age or technical ability. While I do not officially start work until February 1st, I was intimately involved with the final communication of this resolution. Therefore, Matthew Nemerson, EDA, has asked me to talk with my department and our vendors to find ways to improve real time communications with citizens in every neighborhood regardless of their likely access to technology. I would like to respond to the article and tell a small tale of government at its best.
I must publicly acknowledge the work of one of our Parking Enforcement Supervisor (PEO) Ray Willis and our acting Director Mike Mohler. Mike has been carrying the torch for the department short staffed and has been truly dedicated to keeping our department functioning in this period of transition. He has gone above and beyond and is truly invaluable to our TT&P department. When I returned to the office Tuesday afternoon, Ray informed me that there had been an issue with Eld Street parking and they had received numerous phone calls at the department. The phone calls triggered Ray to look into the numerous complaints over inadequate signage for the Emergency Order No Parking (EONP). Additionally, a complaint came into the department through SeeClickFix.
Our diligent PEO took the complaints of our residents, really our customers, to heart and began to look into the matter. He sent a crew out to investigate and discussed the matter with the parking enforcement officers on duty. A work order was created the day before for a utility company’s emergency work and signs were posted on Eld Street. Through a combination of weather, timing, and simple miscommunication over the radio, our department made a mistake. Before I could even ask anyone to look into the complaints, Ray determined that the notification was not sufficient for the EONP and he waved the 13 tickets. After notifying the citizens who cal
posted by: Bradley on January 26, 2014 7:08am
Elmcityresident, the speed with which the city responded to the snafu may well have been affected by the neighborhood’s demographics, although Eld Street is long way away from St. Ronan St. economically and geographically.. But a more significant factor is that the neighborhood is organized and knows how to communicate with the city, through SoHu and SeeClickFix.
Ben, it may be useful for SCF to do additional outreach to neighborhood groups to explain how the site works (as soon as I figure out how to make money appear from thin air, I’ll let you know!).
posted by: Doug Hausladen on January 26, 2014 8:29am
After notifying the citizens who called in complaints and the neighborhood block watch, I asked that he would post on SeeClickFix to notify the neighborhood of the resolution. He was more than glad to do so and felt like it was an effective way for the department to apologize for an unintentional error.
This particular instance came to the department’s attention both via the phone call complaints and via SeeClickFix. I encourage all citizens and customers of New Haven to call our department should there be an issue in need of further attention. Our staff will strive to quickly and fairly adjudicate any and all problems brought to our attention. Mayor Harp has charged the department with taking the customer experience even more into account. Over the past few years, you may have noticed a lot of changes in how to access and pay for parking. TT&P will continue to improve the experience and welcome any and all suggestions to do so.
posted by: steve bellwood on January 26, 2014 11:02am
I was towed away last Fall on a Tuesday, while parked next to a fixed post affirming “streeet-cleaning” on a Monday. Last week the fine was rescinded on condition I forfeited the towing fee. I was told nobody had ever got money back from the city, and this is the best I can hope for??? Any feedback on that?
posted by: smackfu on January 27, 2014 10:52am
Seems odd the person writing the tickets wouldn’t notice the lack of signage. Don’t they usually take a photo with the car and the sign as proof of the violation?