After reading the recent investigation into parking violations in Baltimore City ("Parking violations bring in $13.5M for Baltimore City," Dec. 21), I thought I would share my story on the issue.
On Oct. 25, I was hurrying to class when I noticed a parking ticket on the windshield of my car. I looked around the area where I was parked to check for any possible infractions and then looked at the ticket and was surprised to find it was for parking in a two-hour zone overnight without a proper permit. As mentioned in The Sun's article, this is a ticket-able offense in order to ensure quality of life in residential neighborhoods.
However, I do have a proper permit. It is registered to my car, up to date and clearly displayed on my windshield. Upon further review of the ticket it stated that, among several possible reasons, my permit was improperly displayed. I closely inspected my permit and found that its current location, clearly displayed with no obstructions in the top left corner of the windshield of my 1997 Ford Escort Station Wagon is incorrect. It should, in fact, be about 15 inches lower, in the bottom corner of my windshield. Believing I could have the $52 ticket absolved, I requested to stand trial.
A few days later I received a letter stating my request was processed and I would be informed by mail of my trial date. I waited nearly two months with no sign of a follow-up letter and the ticket status online, even today, simply says "open" without further details. Finally, on New Year's Eve, I checked my mail to find a letter from the City of Baltimore had arrived in an unsealed envelope. You can imagine my dismay when, instead of receiving a court date, the letter stated that I had failed to appear in court on Dec. 19 and would be required to pay the ticket within a week of the missed court date. However, the letter was not postmarked until a week later on Dec. 26, making it impossible for me to meet this payment deadline.
While I appreciate the services and quality of life Baltimore City is trying to ensure, all too often I have felt that parking tickets send the offenders through inane hurdles and I am left wondering if the city is really looking out for my best interest or simply trying to make a quick buck off a financially-strapped and time-deficient college student.
Taylor Boren, Baltimore
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