Governments' Lighter Side

You can't park... in your driveway

A parking ticket can ruin anyone's day, but for residents of Pittsburgh, a rash of recent tickets is also ruining the neighborhood. In certain areas, residents are being ticketed for parking at their own home. 

The reason for the recent wave of tickets is an obscure ordinance that requires residents purchase a $225 permit if they wish to park a car within 30 feet of a city street, according to the Associated Press. Some officials have begun enforcing that ordinance, citing drivers for parking on their own property.

The problem has to do with so-called “parking pads,” or cement or gravel mini-lots some home owners have constructed to handle cars that won’t fit in a traditional driveway, according to the AP. Some residents consider the pads an eyesore, and have complained to the city’s Bureau of Building Inspection (BBI).

"That is not the neighborhood we want,” pad opponent Steven Hawkings, (no relation to the astrophysicist) a member of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, a non-profit neighborhood group opposed to parking pads, told the AP.

Ticketed residents are usually unaware of the ordinance, Councilman Corey O’Connor told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. O’Connor is sympathetic to the parker’s plight, though. “When somebody's parked in their driveway for 30, 40 years and all of a sudden we're going to come out and give you a ticket, that's unfair,” he told the paper.

John Jennings, acting BBI chief, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the ordinance is not enforced unless authorities receive a complaint. “We're getting complaints from people [in the area] who don't want people parking on the pads,” he told the paper. “We're kind of the bad guys in the middle here.”

Residents first receive a warning, and then can be fined up to $1,000.

Councilmembers have expressed that they will work to make changes to the city ordnances that everyone can live with. They hope to have all recently issued citations invalidated, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. So far, at least 21 citations have been issued.

Eileen Freedman, a resident who received a warning, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “It’s ridiculous, and doesn’t make our city look very smart.”

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 18, 2013

ACK! In this article, Pittsburgh is spelled incorrectly FIVE TIMES!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 18, 2013

...and a $225 permit will solve the problem how?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 19, 2013

Thank you for pointing out that Steven Hawkings has no relation to Stephen Hawking.

on Oct 24, 2013

Its really unfair on the part of the home owners. I hope there will be a review that will be conducted to make this issue acceptable by both parties (and officers won't look bad). Parks and driveway bridges can be a good solution to this issue but then, it will need the approval from the city engineers and the government.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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