Wilmington Parking Ticket Issue - an example of cooperation
The system is broken - and we can fix it...
The city of Wilmington is in the process of becoming a truly awesome city - a place where entrepreneurs, artists, educators, and businesses create incredible things.
Since October of 2011, the citizens, business community, arts community, Wilmington City Officials, and others have been engaged in improving the parking and parking enforcement issues in the city of Wilmington.
Huge progress has been made and the direction we are going as a community is extremely positive!
This blog chronicles the efforts of all who helped make this happen...
Mike Castle is being honored with the James H. Sills Jr. CRA Leadership Award for his lifelong dedication to public service, as two-term Governor for the state of Delaware and our nine-term U.S. Congressman. Mike Castle has been consistent in his vision, courage and leadership throughout his career in public service. Governor Castle maintained the delicate balance between the needs of economic development with the challenges facing the citizens.
Beau Biden is receiving the Board of Directors' Award for his efforts to ﬁght against deceptive practices, securing assistance for service men and women, staying consumer focused with mortgage task force events throughout the state of Delaware and aggressive community outreach.
The organization is giving me the Excellence in Community Service Award for my activities in the past year with the city of Wilmington on the parking ticket issues - an award that I would like to share with the many people who worked together in that effort, including residents, business owners, and city officials who all brought together great ideas and made them happen.
This is a significant leap in the right direction!
Wilmington's New $10 Discount for Early Payment of Parking Tickets Begins Today
Posted on 06/13/2012 11:00 am
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker is pleased to announce that the City’s new $10 discount for early payment of parking tickets is in effect beginning today. The discounted ticket ordinance was approved by Wilmington City Council on June 7 and was originally scheduled to go into effect on Monday, July 2; however, the Mayor said that the City’s finance department and parking enforcement office were able to make all of the necessary procedural changes well ahead of schedule, enabling an early launch of the discount benefit.
The original news release announcing the early payment discount is provided below:
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Wilmington Offers $10 Discount for Early Payment of Parking Tickets Parking Tickets Paid Online or In Person within 48 Hours of Issuance Eligible for $10 Discount Beginning Monday, July 2
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker tonight thanked Wilmington City Council for agreeing to amend the City Code to provide for a $10 discount on parking tickets that are paid within 48 hours of their issuance, not including weekend or city holiday hours. Prior to Council’s approval of tonight’s ordinance, City Code offered a $2.00 discount off parking tickets that were paid within 24 hours of issuance.
The Mayor offered his special thanks tonight to 4th District Council Member Hanifa Shabazz not only for her sponsorship of the new discount legislation, but also for her assistance with many of the City’s recent parking and ticketing reforms. Mayor Baker said the new discount legislation is one of 15 parking reforms introduced since earlier this year.
“The new parking ticket discount is just another way we are working to improve our procedures for managing parking enforcement in the City,” said Mayor Baker. “This improved discount for early payment is a win-win for both residents and the City alike. Vehicle owners who receive a ticket will now receive a greater financial incentive for settling their parking citations more expeditiously. The City benefits through improved compliance, which eliminates the costs and effort associated with collecting fees associated with parking violations.”
The new discount will take effect beginning Monday, July 2 (*note: discount actually put into effect on Wednesday, June 13, 2012*). To receive the discount, citizens must pay the ticket in person at the Revenue Department windows on the first floor of the Louis L. Redding City/County Building (800 N. French Street) on regular business days (between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) or online at www.WilmingtonParkingTickets.com; the discount does not apply to mailed payments.
While parking fines in the City vary depending upon the violation, the vast majority of tickets issued by the City’s Parking Regulation Enforcement Officers are for $40, which includes expired meters and failing to move a vehicle during street cleaning operations.
Citizens who opt not to take advantage of the early payment discount must pay their fine within 21 days of issuance to avoid a late penalty ($20). Every citizen who receives a parking ticket has the option to appeal the citation by sending a letter to the Office of Civil Appeals within 21 days; however, appealing a ticket forfeits the right to receive the early payment discount.
I honestly cannot say enough good things about the city of Wilmington right now!
Thanks to the hard work and cooperation of the people in the city administration, city council, the business community, residents, and friends of the city, we are seeing tremendous progress in the parking issue!
Below is a copy of the release put out by the city this morning, and here's my take on it:
Mayor Announces Additional Parking and Ticketing Reforms
Posted on 04/13/2012 10:55 am
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker today announced additional parking and ticketing reforms designed to make the City’s systems more transparent and user friendly as well as to provide needed parking opportunities for citizens in residential and business areas of the City. The City’s parking and ticketing laws, regulations and policies have been under review since last year when public concerns were raised about the fairness of the parking and ticketing programs—concerns that were fueled by misperceptions that the City’s programs were being guided or designed by the City’s need for additional revenue.
Mayor Baker said today parking enforcement is necessary to keep vehicles moving in and out of parking spaces in order to support retail business and allow for the flow of commerce; to ensure that people living in neighborhoods can park near their residences; and to ensure that transportation routes are not blocked when emergency vehicles or City sanitation vehicles need to navigate dense City neighborhoods.
“Today’s announcements and other parking and ticketing reforms announced previously this year should demonstrate to citizens that their government officials are listening to legitimate concerns and will take action when necessary to reform Wilmington’s parking and ticketing programs,” said the Mayor.
Reforms announced today:
The Mayor will send City Council legislation that will establish a discount for early payment of parking tickets. The program will offer a $10 discount to any citizen who pays a $40 parking ticket within 48-hours of when the citation was issued. The discount applies only to payments made in person at the Redding City/County Building on French Street and online atwww.WilmingtonParkingTickets.com. The discount does not apply to payments made by mail.
As of April 1, the City stopped issuing tickets to vehicles that park in a street cleaning zone once the street cleaning process is completed. Prior to this change, vehicles had to wait two hours before they were allowed to park in a street sweeping zone. Legislation is pending before City Council to formally change this law, however, the City’s Public Works Commissioner is authorized under City Code to make this change administratively which he did on April 1 to coincide with the beginning of the street sweeping season which began on April 1 and runs through October 31.
Beginning April 2, Wilmington’s Office of Civil Appeals began mailing an acknowledgement letter to citizens who have chosen to protest or appeal a ticket. The letter is being mailed within seven days of the appeals office receiving an appeal. Prior to this change, citizens would claim that an appeal had been filed, but the Appeals Office would have no record of the appeal. The acknowledgment letter is an effort to provide a record for the citizen and the City of the appeal. If a citizen does not receive an acknowledgment letter within seven days of filing an appeal, they should call the Office of Civil Appeals at 576-3908 to learn the status of their appeal letter.
As a further reform, the Office of Civil Appeals is processing appeals more quickly and is operating on a 30-day turnaround in order to respond more efficiently to citizens who protest a ticket. If the Civil Appeals Office upholds a ticket, a citizen may then protest the ticket in the State Justice of the Peace Court.
The City’s Parking Enforcement Office has begun a pilot program entitled “On Vehicle Notification” (OVN) to inform a vehicle owner when they are approaching the $200 threshold that will result in their vehicle being “booted.” The City has begun placing a notice on vehicles to inform owners that their vehicle has incurred between $100 and $199 in tickets. The notice urges them to pay their fines before the vehicle is booted, which will result in them incurring additional costs. There are approximately 33,000 vehicle owners who have outstanding fines of between $100 and $199 attached to the vehicle.
The City has revised the first “Notification of Parking Ticket” letter that is mailed to a vehicle owner within seven days of a ticket being issued. Besides stating the reason, date and time of the violation, the letter clearly lists the options available to the citizen to either pay the ticket or appeal the ticket. The revised notification is intended to assist citizens in understanding their options immediately without having to seek further information via telephone or website. In addition to this initial notice, the City also mails three other notices to citizens to remind them that a ticket payment is outstanding.
The City has revised its temporary parking permit program to prohibit a citizen from obtaining a parking pass for at least seven days after their initial seven day pass has expired. The new rule was established after the City determined that citizens were abusing the temporary parking pass program which was originally established to allow for visitors, health care professionals and other temporary visitors to a home to park in a residential parking zone without a residential sticker. (NOTE: The City also offers a temporary parking pass program for construction vehicles and other private vendors offering in-home services which is managed by the City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, 302-576-3030).
New informational labels for parking meters (see attached images) have been ordered and will soon be applied to all meters throughout the City. The new stickers will inform citizens of the two-hour parking limitation at meters on Monday through Friday; information about enforcement not occurring on Saturdays and Sundays; parking rates; hours that parking enforcement officers are on patrol; and information about how to report a broken meter.
Mayor Baker will also soon send legislation to City Council to establish a Wilmington Parking Regulation Council that will advise the Mayor and Council of issues related to parking and ticketing concerns. The Council will also review new processes and technologies to continue to make parking and ticketing regulations more transparent while at the same time helping the City to adhere to the need for parking regulations and restrictions. The new Council will be comprised of officials from the Administration and Council, private parking authorities, and citizens.
Mayor Baker today also updated other reforms to the parking and ticketing programs were previously announced by his office:
The City’s PREOs (Parking Regulations Enforcement Officers) have received 10 hours of training focusing on deploying these City employees as ambassadors for the City while at the same time stressing their legal responsibility to enforce parking laws. The training has also focused on one-on-one contact with citizens as well as when and how to disengage from a conversation with a citizen when necessary while issuing a ticket to avoid a verbal or physical altercation.
Beginning May 1, the City’s PREOs will distribute informational brochures concerning parking rules in Wilmington to educate citizens about parking laws, how those laws are enforced and how to avoid receiving a ticket.
On February 1, the City posted a concise list of parking regulations on its website (www.WilmingtonDE.gov) including information about obtaining residential and business-related parking permits, temporary parking permits for family and friends who visit, street signage information, meter information, metered parking spaces for persons with disabilities and the process for paying fines or appealing tickets along with a host of other laws. The list also includes contact information so citizens may call the City with questions. The parking tips list is also available via U.S. mail to any citizen who does not have access to the Internet. They may request the information by calling the Office of Constituent Services at 576-2489.
The City is continuing to adopt “smart” technology to upgrade its metered parking system. The City has ordered six additional multiple-space parking kiosks that will accept credit card payments and print a receipt for citizens, as well as 23 single-space meters that allow for payment by cell phone. The City has already installed multi-space parking kiosks along Justison Street on the Riverfront that also provide new payment options and receipts for citizens.
The City changed all metered limited-time parking in Wilmington from one-hour to two hours in 2011. A survey of downtown businesses indicated that the vast majority of businesses favored extended parking for their customers. All meters in Wilmington allow for the purchase of up to two hours of parking ($.25 for each 15 minutes of parking).
The City extended the length of time for commercial and retail businesses to use loading zones in 2011. The City revised its loading zone law to allow for the use of such zones for the active loading or unloading of materials for up to one hour instead of the previously allowed 15 minutes. In addition, non-commercial vehicles that are used by businesses for commercial purposes may place magnetic panels on each of a vehicle’s front doors indicating the name of the business and may use loading zones in the City for up to one hour.
This is an excellent step forward - it's great to see the city of Wilmington and our community coming together to make these kinds of improvements to our system.
Here's the press release issued by the city of Wilmington today:
Tuesday, February 1, 2012
City Issues a Compilation of Parking Tips for Citizens
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker and City Chief of Staff William S. Montgomery today released a list of parking tips so citizens will be better informed about Wilmington’s parking and ticketing laws. The list was compiled after City officials met with a citizens group two weeks ago led by social media expert Ken Grant. The group discussed ways to make the parking and ticketing process more transparent and to hold the City accountable for making sure the process is managed as efficiently as possible.
The list of parking tips, in addition to being distributed today as a news release, has also been posted on the City’s website, www.WilmingtonDE.gov and will continue to be shared with citizens in the weeks and months ahead. Citizens who do not have access to the Internet may request a copy of the parking tips by calling the City’s Office of Constituent Services at 302.576.2489.
The City is in the process of producing a parking tips brochure that will be given to citizens by the City’s Parking Regulation Enforcement Officers (PREOs) and also distributed by Downtown Visions and the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, two community and business-based organizations that have partnered with the City for years to make Wilmington a welcoming, friendly City that promotes the benefits of living, working or having fun in the City.
Wilmington will also include the brochure in water/sewer bills that are mailed in cycles throughout the year to citizens inside and outside the City’s boundaries.
“Sometimes you have to step back and re-assess what you are doing, why you are doing it, and ask what improvements can be made to a process,” said Montgomery. “This parking regulation review process is being conducted with assistance from Ken and those citizens he represents as well as Members of City Council and other City officials. It is proving to be good for City government and good for anyone who lives, works, visits and enjoys our City.”
Mayor Baker said today’s listing of parking tips is just the beginning of an effort to improve a process that is governed by City Code. “We have parking laws in place for reasons of public safety, ease of parking for those who patronize businesses or live in our neighborhoods and for flow of traffic, especially emergency vehicles and sanitation vehicles,” said the Mayor. “We also need to make sure that the process is fair and efficient, and we will continue to look for ways to communicate with citizens and make improvements to the process.”
City of Wilmington Parking Tips
Issued February 2012
The following list of parking tips is intended to be a helpful guide to understanding the most commonly encountered parking issues in the City of Wilmington. It is not intended to cover every possible scenario, nor is it meant as a substitute for City Code. To review parking regulations in their entirety, please visitwww.WilmingtonDE.gov where you can access the complete City Code. For those who do not have access to the Internet, please call the Office of Constituent Services at 302.576.2489. Email addresses listed below are NOT case sensitive, but are presented in this manner for clarification and style purposes only.
General Parking Tips
Always have coins available to purchase parking time from a parking meter.
Insert coins into the meter immediately after you park and exit your vehicle.
Meters accept nickels, dimes, and quarters. Parking rates are posted on each meter. You may purchase 15 minutes of parking for a quarter, 6 minutes of parking for a dime, and 3 minutes of parking for a nickel. You may park at a meter for up to two hours.
Upon parking, familiarize yourself with posted street signage regarding parking restrictions/limitations. Street signage governing parking rules on a block (such as street cleaning times) may appear anywhere on the block, and familiarizing yourself with signage requires looking up and down the entire block on the side where you’re parked, particularly if you don’t see any sign where you are parked. The City is required to post signs along a block so that citizens are informed about parking rules/restrictions. The City makes every effort to check frequently for signs that have been removed or have become damaged. If you park on the block and feel that signage may be missing or inadequate, please notify the Office of Constituent Services through CityHelp@WilmingtonDE.gov or call 302.576.2489.
Do not park farther than 12 inches from the curb.
Once you park, make sure that all four wheels of your vehicle are touching the street surface. You will receive a parking ticket if a tire is sitting on the curb or sidewalk.
Parking is prohibited within 20 feet of a crosswalk or intersection.
Parking is prohibited within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
Parking is prohibited in bus stops or loading zones. Loading zones are reserved for commercial vehicles only.
Do not block driveways; you may be ticketed AND towed. Vehicles are prohibited from parking within 3 feet of either side of a driveway.
Do not park in a handicap space (designated by a blue meter) unless you have a valid, properly displayed handicap plate or placard. (more on this subject the “Handicapped Parking” section)
To pay a parking ticket in person, please visit the Customer Service Center on the 1st floor of the Redding City/County Building at 800 North French Street, Wilmington, 19801 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cash, check, Master Card, Visa or Discover are accepted, but American Express is not accepted.
To pay a parking ticket by telephone, call 302.571.4320 and select option #4 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. A City Customer Service representative will assist you with your payment. Only Master Card, Visa and Discover are accepted for phone payments.
Blue parking meters designate parking spaces reserved for vehicles displaying a valid, properly displayed handicap plate or hanging placard. Handicap plates and placards are issued through the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles and are not issued by the City. For more information, visit http://www.dmv.de.gov or call the State Motor Vehicle Division branch that serves the Greater Wilmington area at 302.434.3200.
Drivers with disabilities who have a valid handicapped plate and placard may park in a handicap space (i.e. space with a blue meter) but must observe the same parking rules and procedures that apply to non-disabled drivers. Blue meters, like all other meters, accept nickels, dimes, and quarters.
Malfunctioning Parking Meters
If you encounter an inoperable or malfunctioning parking meter, immediately report the meter number (the number, usually three digits, can be found on the front face of the meter) to the City’s Office of Constituent Services at BrokenMeter@WilmingtonDE.gov or call 302.576.2489. All claims of a broken meter will be promptly investigated and verified; any citations issued in a parking space with a verified broken meter will be dismissed upon appeal.
If a citizen who does not have a valid residential sticker parks along a block where street signage indicates time-limited parking (for example, two-hour parking) and then moves their vehicle from that block, the vehicle may return in that block on either side of the street for the remainder of the original authorized two hour period.
The original authorized time period begins to run when the vehicle’s license plate number is first recorded by a parking enforcement officer. After the authorized period has expired, the vehicle must vacate the block and not return to any parking space on either side of the block for at least one hour, regardless of whether the vehicle moved from the block during the original authorized period. Vehicles returning to the same general area may still park around the corner from their original location or as near as the next up or down block to avoid receiving a ticket.
For example, a car which is parked in a 2 hour zone at 9 a.m., and which is recorded by a parking enforcement officer at 10 a.m., may remain parked on either side of the same block, or come and go as often as the vehicle owner chooses, until 12 Noon. (The unrecorded time period from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. is not considered against the vehicle). At 12:01 p.m., the vehicle must vacate the block and may not return to either side of the block for at least one hour.
Residential Parking Stickers
City law requires that residents display a parking sticker in designated parking areas around the city. If you have a residential parking permit, you will be able to park in your designated area where limited time parking regulations apply. Residential parking stickers only exempt you from limited-time parking, not from any other parking regulations.
Residential parking stickers are free and are renewed annually. Sticker expiration dates are clearly posted on the bottom of the stickers.
üResidential parking stickers must be clearly displayed in the proper location on a vehicle which is either the right side of your rear bumper or in your vehicle’sright rear window.
üAny outstanding parking and/or red light violations must be paid before a residential parking permit will be issued.
For more information about obtaining or renewing a residential parking sticker, please contact the Division of Revenue at 302.571.4320 (select option #4 when you hear the recorded message) or call the Office of Constituent Services at 302.576.2489. You may also visit www.WilmingtonDE.gov/residents/residentparking where you can also download parking zone maps to see where the residential parking sticker law is in force.
Temporary Parking Pass
Temporary parking passes allowing vehicles without a residential parking sticker to park in an otherwise restricted area are issued in special cases, such as for visitors to your home and home health care providers. To obtain a temporary parking pass, which is valid for no more than 7 days, you may call 302.571.4320 (press #5 when you hear the recorded message) or email your request to TemporaryParking@WilmingtonDE.gov at least 24-hours in advance of the need for the pass.
A temporary parking pass does not permit you to ignore other parking restrictions such as street cleaning, parking too close to a fire hydrant, blocking a driveway, etc. It is only intended to allow you to park temporarily in a limited-time parking area.
üYou will not be able to obtain a temporary parking pass if you or your guest has outstanding parking debts owed to the City.
Child Drop Off/Urban School Permits
Parents, volunteers, and administrators of schools and daycares within the City of Wilmington may request and obtain parking permits enabling the bearer to park in front of the establishment for a limited time (15 minutes or less) for the purpose of dropping off or picking up children. To obtain an urban school permit, email your request toChildDropOff@WilmingtonDE.gov or call 302.576.2489.
Vehicles that are parked on a City street in the same spot for more than seven days may be considered abandoned and are subject to ticketing and/or towing—even if you have a valid residential parking permit. If you plan to be on vacation past the 7-day limit, please request a temporary parking pass so that the City is aware that your vehicle has not been abandoned. Finally, if a vehicle is deemed to be abandoned and also presents any type of safety issue, the City may tow that vehicle immediately.
Street cleaning occurs each year between April 1 and October 31 according to the posted signage on City streets. Residents must move their vehicles for two hours from street cleaning zones as stated on posted street signage regardless of whether or not they have a residential parking permit. Street cleaning restrictions are not enforced between November 1 and March 31.
Street cleaning parking restrictions must be observed between April 1 and October 31 regardless of any issued parking permit; in other words, everyone must move their vehicles from street cleaning zones during the restricted times posted.
Once you accumulate $200 or more in fines (includes both parking and red light violations), your vehicle is subject to seizure/booting. The booting threshold ($200) applies to accumulated fees from all vehicles titled in your name, which includes vehicles either solely or jointly owned. Once you have been booted, you must pay your fines before the boot can be removed. You may call the toll-free telephone number listed on the back of the booting notice and arrange to pay your fine by credit card or make payment in-person Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. using cash, check or credit card at the Finance Department’s Customer Service Center on the 1st floor of the Redding City/County Building, 800 North French Street, Wilmington, 19801.
Penalties and Late Fees
If your ticket is not paid or appealed within 21 days, there is a $20 late fee applied to the original amount of the ticket. If you don’t pay within 45 days, an additional $20 penalty is added to the fine. If you don’t pay within 90 days, an additional $20 is added to the fine.
Appealing a Parking Ticket
If you receive a ticket that you believe is unwarranted, you must appeal the ticket within 21 days of the date the ticket was issued. Instructions are clearly listed on the back of the citation. There are no exceptions to the 21-day appeal deadline. Once you appeal a parking ticket, your ticket will then be suspended and you will not incur any penalties while your appeal is being reviewed.
Citizens may provide other information, in addition to an appeal letter, such as pictures, documents, etc., in order to support their appeal.
The only address to which you can send a written appeal is: Public Safety Division, Attention Civil Appeals Director, 300 N. Walnut Street (2nd Floor), Wilmington, DE 19801.
Appeals are not accepted verbally, nor may you send in an appeal via email.
Every effort will be made by the Office of Civil Appeals to issue a response to your appeal within 30 days from the date your appeal letter is received. Some appeals take longer than 30 days to determine because they require an on-site inspection of the location where a ticket was issued or a review of materials received with an appeal letter.
If your appeal to the Office of Civil Appeals is rejected and your ticket is upheld, you may exercise your right to appeal the matter to the Justice of the Peace Court (JP Court) of the State of Delaware. Once you request a court date, you will be notified by the JP Court, not the City, as to when your court date has been set.
Appealing a Red Light Ticket
Citations for red light violations may be appealed within 21 days of the date that the ticket was issued. The red light ticket appeal process is administered by Wilmington Police Department and the City’s contractor, ACS Solutions, Inc. Instructions for red light camera appeals are listed on the back of your citation.
Red Light appeals are heard by the Justice of the Peace Court (JP Court) of the State of Delaware. For questions regarding your red light camera violation, you may contact ACS at 1.866.545.7441.
You will receive notification from the City within 30 days of the receipt of your appeal that your ticket has been suspended until the appeal is heard in JP Court.
If you receive a red light violation, you may review a color digital video and full color images of the violation for which you have received a citation by logging ontowww.public.cite-web.com. In order to view the video or images, you must enter your citation number and a PIN number which can be found on the citation that was mailed to the address to which your vehicle is registered.
Parking Enforcement Rules
Parking Regulation Enforcement Officers work Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. They do not enforce parking laws before or after those hours.
Late night and overnight parking enforcement is the responsibility of the Wilmington Police Department, although the WPD’s emphasis during these hours is on egregious violations of law including but not limited to parking at a fire hydrant, blocking intersections, etc.
Neither Parking Regulation Enforcement Officers nor the Wilmington Police Department enforce limited-time parking at meters on weekends and holidays. Citizens DO NOT have to deposit coins in meters on those days.
Gordon at Film Brothers reports the city of Wilmington is adding stickers to parking signs downtown clarifying that meters do not need to be fed on Saturdays AND Sundays (many just had the Sunday exception before).
This is a good move forward - and we applaud the city for taking this action!