https://almanacnews.com/square/print/2018/09/09/a-ticket-for-parallel-parking-over-the-line-really


Town Square

A Ticket For Parallel Parking Over the Line? Really?

Original post made by Menlo Park Shopper, another community, on Sep 9, 2018

I live in Palo Alto but am in Menlo Park weekly (at least) to run errands (i.e. spend money in Menlo Park). Last week I parallel parked before doing my shopping and was surprised to find a $45 ticket on my windshield when I returned - for parking a bit over the white line that denotes parking spaces in downtown Menlo Park. Why did I do this? Because the car parallel parked behind me was also over the line - in other words, I had no choice. I had always thought this is how parallel parking works in downtown areas. Anyway, I submitted a photo to the police department, to no avail. I've paid the fine but am left with a sour taste in my mouth - don't think I'll be returning anytime soon. Posting in case downtown merchants care about this.

Comments

12 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 10, 2018 at 10:34 am

Sorry to hear about your ticket.

FYI: the only thing MP seems to care about is parking enforcement, and those crazy white lines, or white "x" boxes (that you will get a ticket for even though you needed to give space to the car in front/back, also, watch out for parking in the WHOLE white box in the behind the stores lots as you can get tickets for your car over the line there too.)

I used to see stop sign enforcement a few years back, but I guess they don't do that anymore. So while in the downtown MP area, you can drive however your want. Just don't go through the red lights at el camino at ravenswood or valparaiso.

Oh, and be super careful of how you park, we have a fancy electric car to drive around in a catch you!


34 people like this
Posted by shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 10, 2018 at 11:12 am

Did the other car get a ticket too? Just because they break the law doesn't mean you have a right to copy them. Parking outside a legal parking space causes all kinds of problems for the rest of the public.


13 people like this
Posted by stanollie
a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Sep 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm

stanollie is a registered user.

I just got a $45 parking ticket in downtown Menlo Park for having my back tire a tiny bit on the curb (maybe an inch?)--I was trying to be a close to the curb as possible since the side streets are narrow for both side of the street parking & two way traffic. Picky picky.


26 people like this
Posted by Former Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 10, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Save your breath. The City of Menlo Park does NOT care whether you shop downtown or not. Instead, they prefer your shopping dollars go into their bank account and NOT to the merchants.

It's sad that aggressive parking enforcement has become a culture in Menlo Park, unlike their neighbors. Nearly $600,000 a year in parking tickets are issued, partly to pay the $300,000 in costs for the enforcement program.

A better solution may be to provide signage that is easier to read and located in more locations. Menlo Park does the MINIMUM, hoping you'll be in a hurry and not take time to read the small print on the signs.

What can be done? Shop elsewhere, such as Town and Country Village or Stanford Shopping Center where parking if FREE. Private owners seem to care about their shoppers; Menlo Park seems to only care about themselves.


23 people like this
Posted by Steve Taffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 10, 2018 at 12:49 pm

The parking enforcement officers are doing their job as defined by the municipal code, so I encourage people who are cited for violations don't take it out on them. (There's nothing in this thread to suggest you did).

Free parking for shoppers means that someone else is footing the bill for that space: the taxpayers.

I'm sorry you got tagged but you have a choice to park within the lines of the space or, if that is not possible, to look for another parking spot. That may be less convenient, but it may also be less expensive.


11 people like this
Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 10, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Menlo Shopper. Consider yourself lucky. Menlo Park parking enforcement officers are trained to shoot to kill when they spot a violation. I, too, was tagged with a violation for being slightly over the line. The car behind me was way over into my space which caused me to violate the law. Of course when the parking officer came by, the other car was gone. And I, too, no longer shop in downtown Menlo Park.


21 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2018 at 1:56 pm

The problem is that the parking spots are too small in most of the parking lots. If you are parked next to a large vehicle or truck you are almost forced to go on or over the white line. It is really too bad that the shopper is penalized for something as small as a white line infraction! Maybe someone should address this problem!


14 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 10, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I have to agree with previous comments, whether or not the merchants are happy, the parking enforcement officers do what they want and do not care if you come back to Menlo or not. Years ago they gave me a ticket, and the car next to me, for not having a front license plate (no bracket for it). I wrote to the city and they did not care. To this day I only shop down town Menlo as a last resort.

Sad to say they do want the revenue from tickets and not revenue from Sales tax, or successful merchants


71 people like this
Posted by Hahaha
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm

"Hey, I broke the law, but jeeze, not by much, and that guy did too!"

Pay the fine, alter your behavior so that it's within the law, proceed without issue.


13 people like this
Posted by Margo
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 10, 2018 at 3:33 pm

It would help a lot if the lines went over the sidewalk a bit so the driver can see exactly where the space is without having to exit the car. ARGH! How does it help to have the lines in the street where the driver can't see them????


26 people like this
Posted by But Then again
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 10, 2018 at 4:16 pm

"How does it help to have the lines in the street where the driver can't see them????"

Somehow the VAST majority of people seem to be managing just fine. This is when you ask "Maybe it's my operating skills"


6 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 10, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Overnight Parking:

Once again a big money getter. Why do residents need to pay for a parking permit or pass to park in front of their own residence? Menlo Park Police, don’t tell us it’s for crime reduction, that’s a lie. Police vehicles can obtain information on vehicles by inputting the information in a data base computer and find out, by the registration, who owns the vehicle. If not a vehicle that belongs in Menlo Park, police can further investigate.

If you go to the police department to get these permits, why not issue them yearly for free, or provide a small fee as with the alarm permit fee.

Wow, be community friendly and work with your citizens that pay a lot in taxes to live here.

Sorry, not to sympathize with our illegal Parker, unfortunately, it is what it is....pay the ticket!


23 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 10, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Brian is a registered user.

The restriction on overnight parking keeps neighborhood streets from becoming parking lots. I completely support this. Go through other cities and the streets are lined with cars day and night, usually clunkers. Happy to have our streets free of that blight.


8 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 11:05 am

I commiserate. The parking enforcement is strangely arbitrary and nitpicky, and they have been for many years. None of the city officials care, either.

How come they don't ticket vehicles in the parking lots whose back ends hang out too far in the driving lane because they're worried about their front end getting dinged? This is a trend that has been going on far too long and it's recklessly stupid.


6 people like this
Posted by Former Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 11, 2018 at 11:15 am

A few comments. First, the size of the parking spaces in Lot 3 (behind Flegel's Furniture) along with some of the other parking lots, are too narrow. Thus, doors get dinged and dented. The City is aware of this, but does NOTHING about it.

Second, I'm told the total number of parking tickets combined in Redwood City and San Carlos collectively, are LESS than than the total tickets issued in downtown Menlo Park. The fact that Redwood City and San Carlos are LARGER than Menlo Park speaks volumes on how overly aggressive parking enforcement is in this city. It's crazy.

Maybe the City should consider a GRAND EXPERIMENT for one month with NO parking enforcement for overtime parking (red curbs, etc. enforcement is ok), and see what happens. Who knows what may result without trying it. Best case scenario, it might work with the heavy handed process of issuing ticket after ticket.


2 people like this
Posted by TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 11, 2018 at 11:19 am

"I'm told the total number of parking tickets "

I'm told we should obey the posted law. And, unlike the poster, can provide an actual link to support that claim. Web Link


18 people like this
Posted by Suck it up, Buttercup
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 12, 2018 at 7:06 am

You parked over the line and got a ticket. What did you expect? A gold star on your windshield?


2 people like this
Posted by Ginnie
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 12, 2018 at 7:55 am

Several years ago I also had the experience of receiving a ticket for being slightly over the white line. The downtown parking lots, especially near Trader Joe's, are frequently full. The only spot I found was next to a large pickup truck that had intruded into the parking space, forcing me to park very close to the car parked on the other side. I didn't notice that I was slightly over the white line on that side. Sure enough when I came back from shopping I had received a ticket.

What the city needs is a large parking garage downtown similar to Mountain View and Redwood City. It would encourage more shopping in Menlo Park and would avoid the frequent hassle of finding a parking place downtown.


9 people like this
Posted by mpres
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 12, 2018 at 8:24 am

The 'Suck it up, loser' tone that pervades these comments is obnoxious. I'm a resident and I got ticketed a couple of years ago for my front wheele being ON the line in the spaces right behind Walgreens.I had pulled way up because passage is very narrow and I was trying to leave the most space possible. Can't win for losing. Where are the meter persons when cars don't pull up in those spaces and you can just barely pass? And yes, MP is more interested than any City nearby in parking and red light revenue than repeat business downtown. Even though the stats on red light cameras have caused almost all communities to decide against using them, or to pull them out. Not MP.


14 people like this
Posted by Yes, really
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 9:16 am

Menlo Park had adopted a strategy of being very aggressive in police/traffic enforcement to develop a revenue stream for the city/police department. Its use of red light cameras is one example of this. The vignettes in this thread are other examples.

Whether this amounts to a solid plan to make law-abiding citizens safe, a scheme to justify and perpetuate high salaries and retirement packages in the police department, or something in-between, depends on your personal experiences in life and point-of-view.

When citizens who have felt aggrieved about what they considered to be arbitrary and petty enforcement of regulations have come on these forums to complain, they routinely get chastised, in some cases (I believe) by MPPD officers hiding behind anonymous handles.

There was also the case from a few years ago, reported by the Almanac, in which a resident who tried to leave his home by automobile when he felt he was being harangued by an enforcement officer, and she stood in back of the vehicle to block his exit (and moved when he didn't relent and stay there, even though he was totally within his legal rights to leave), was prosecuted for felony vehicular attempted manslaughter, or some such trumped up charge. The jury very quickly dismissed this case.

That's one data point to suggest at least some reasonable residents of this county feel MPPD's stance on these issues is too aggressive.


2 people like this
Posted by TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 12, 2018 at 9:23 am

"That's one data point"

Is it? That's your sole data point? "There was also the case from a few years ago..."

But I gotta give it to ya, this is the winner! "...they routinely get chastised, in some cases (I believe) by MPPD officers hiding behind anonymous handles"

These guys carry guns, have badges that allow them carte blanche for almost anything, have gold-plated pensions, they have a strong union, etc.. and yet they choose this forum to act out about parking tickets?

TELL ME MORE!


13 people like this
Posted by Misfit
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 13, 2018 at 12:07 am

I always wonder why people decide to drive cars that are too big for them to handle and that do not fit the urban environment on the Peninsula.

It can't be about safety (with speeds rarely exceeding 35mph), and in my opinion is just about upping others and showing off to their neighbors.

So I am all for cracking down on drivers who think the size of their vehicle entitles them to more rights and more space.

After all, these behemoths obstruct sight lines for pedestrians and cyclists, block fire lanes and make passage for emergency vehicles impossible.

Alas, I can only dream of the time, when people make rational decisions and "consider" owning a vehicle that is more appropriate for the environment they live in.