Ever get nabbed for parking illegally in the path of a Baltimore City street sweeper? You're not alone: Parking enforcement agents handed out more than 41,000 tickets for that offense in 2013, generating $2.1 million for city coffers.
Overall, the city brought in nearly $13.5 million for about 309,500 parking violations during the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to a breakdown requested by The Baltimore Sun.
The most frequent citations were for breaking parking meter rules. That accounted for a third of all paid parking tickets last year.
Others were for such offenses as parking too long in a residential district (10 percent), too close to a hydrant (1 percent) and near Camden Yards during a stadium event (1.5 percent).
One unlucky driver was fined $77 for parking in a snow emergency route.
"It's not just about money," said Frank Murphy, deputy director of operations at the Baltimore Department of Transportation. "It's about safety. It's about parking turnover. It's about street cleaning. It's about residential permit parking and quality-of-life issues in neighborhoods."
The city recently revived its overnight enforcement team, with 10 parking agents working between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to handle overnight complaints, including commercial trucks parked on residential streets and vehicles blocking driveways.
In all, Baltimore employs 78 agents for parking enforcement and 17 to identify abandoned vehicles and track down scofflaws. A team of special traffic enforcement officers directs traffic during peak times and has additional responsibilities.
Posts for individual parking agents vary in size based on the density of where they're stationed. The smallest post is two square blocks.
The agents — who earn an average of $29,000 — are commissioned by the Police Department after clearing background checks and completing up to four months of training. Up to 90 percent are women, officials said.
Murphy said the Transportation Department is researching the possibility of increasing the penalties for assaulting parking enforcement agents. About two or three agents are assaulted each year.
"It's a challenging job," Murphy said. "It's one of those jobs that nobody likes what you do. If you get a ticket and I am the agent, you're not going to be happy with me.
"The best we can get is they say, 'Yeah, you're right. I did this.'"
To look at interactive parking ticket data, go to http://baltimoresun.com/citations