- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2003

A rash of tickets for illegal parking on Porter Street hill in Northwest has set off complaints about police ticketing elsewhere along Porter Street and throughout the District.
"The hills in D.C. are not enough to make you curb your wheels," said Steve Miller, 60, of Rockville, who is still steamed over a ticket he received in 1991 for parking on a level section of 16th Street NW.
"I don't plan to pay that ticket," said Mel Schick, of Potomac, who was ticketed two weeks ago because the Maryland handicapped tags on his car don't fulfill the District's requirements.
David W. York, of the 3600 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW, near the western extremity of Porter Street, reported that he and friends received $50 citations for parking in newly designated spots near an "incorrectly installed" No Parking sign.
Like numerous others, Mr. York suggested the rash of tickets might be "creative ways to look for more revenue."
Steve Everhard, who was ticketed at 2:12 a.m. Jan. 18, claims "the pressure to generate revenue has reached a fever pitch." He said he has photographs to prove he was legally parked and should not have to pay $50 for parking in a bus zone.
But Mary Myers, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, said the increased issuance of tickets is natural, largely because of increased numbers of parking officers. And, she added, the number of tickets being issued is still below the number written about six years ago.
Second District police and residents along Porter Street have said enforcement of all traffic laws have been increasing on that street, which intersects both Connecticut and Wisconsin avenues, the major north-south streets in Northwest.
Last year, for instance, speed limits were raised to 30 mph after many motorists complained that 25 mph was too slow, according to a photo-radar officer.
Some motorists claim they were unaware of the hill-parking law and wonder why it was imposed. The law requires front wheels to be turned into the curb, which will act like a brake if the vehicle starts rolling downhill. If there is no curb, the wheels are to be set to turn the vehicle onto the shoulder.
Like others, Sgt. Joe Gentile, Metropolitan Police spokesman, does not know when the law was enacted.
"I know it's been on the books since I've been in the department which is 35 years," said Sgt. Gentile, who recalls issuing a ticket at least once because a car with unturned wheels rolled downhill and crashed into another car.
Not everyone is upset by enforcement tickets, but even those like Steve Hersey, 34, founder and president of the charity Books for America, wish police had issued warnings before sticking the $20 tickets on windshields.
"We all expect if we break the law, we should get a ticket," said Mr. Hersey, who added that the hill-parking tickets have been a prime topic of discussion in the laundry room of the apartment building where he lives.
"I will admit I'm a lot more careful about turning my wheels to the curb," said Mr. Hersey.
"But, there are more important things for police to be concerned about."
Mr. Miller said police appear to be especially diligent around the Porter-Connecticut intersection because there are few parking lots and side streets allow parking for only two hours.
His daughter once parked legally for two hours on a side street, but was ticketed after she moved her car to another spot on the same side street, he said.

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