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What is a parking violation?

 
  Everyone hates getting parking tickets – and since the high cost of monitoring no parking areas and following up on violations can be a drag on local finances, localities don’t particularly like giving them, either. (Delinquent parking tickets are notoriously difficult to collect on.) But America’s busiest cities issue tickets at breathtaking pace – according to Forbes, New York wrote 10 million, or around 2 per car owned by a city resident, and if Washington, DC stacked up every single dollar it received in parking fines, “it would nearly reach to the average altitude that a commercial airlines flies above the surface of the Earth.”

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There go the last four hours you spent at work. Oops.
Naturally, some tickets are morally indefensible, like the one issued to an Albany woman who returned to find her car had been towed away due to an emergency no-parking order that hadn’t even been in place when she’d parked. But the vast majority of tickets are due to ignoring parking meters or local ordinances, or just failing to take note of signage.

Particularly egregious parking violations happen when a car blocks a fire hydrant, fire lane, or other traffic that’s deemed to have priority, like cars trying to get out of a private driveway; in general, blocking other people’s rightful traffic is a no-no punishable by fine. In New York, double parking is practically a way of life due to the scarcity of parking and the frequency of alternate-side parking days; most people aren’t aware that double parking is only legal for commercial vehicles, only for very short periods, and only in certain locations. In most places, double parking is a clear and immediate parking violation. (In New York, when and if it’s actually enforced, it’ll set you back $115.)

Some of the less tasteful among us might try to park in off-street handicapped parking zones without a permit, figuring it’s up to private owners to opt to notify police of a violation – not so! Although owners of off-street parking generally get to decide who can park there, since parking in a designated handicapped parking area is a violation of those visitors’ right to access that property, even if the parking lot belongs to your sweet old grandmother, you’re apt to earn yourself a ticket toward the top of the range (a whopping $180 in New York City).