$60 Ends Sidewalk Parking Saga
Despite asking for a jury trial for parking on the sidewalk, a West U resident has resolved the issue by simply paying the fine.
Suzanne Penley, who lives in the 4200 block of Rice Boulevard, pled no contest in West U Municipal Court this week and paid a $60 fine for parking on the sidewalk.
Penley was ticketed by the city on June 20 after receiving several warnings about parking on the sidewalk. She was in the process of resolving the issue by installing pavers next to her driveway when she was ticketed. Penley requested a jury trial when she appeared in court on July 16.
Parking on a sidewalk is prohibited in the State of Texas.
Penley said when she appeared in court this week she had the opportunity to talk with the judge about her situation and said that while she did park over the sidewalk for years she did not know it was illegal.
“I just wanted to be heard,” she said. “I didn’t want people to think I was above the law.”
Penley lives in a 1930s West U home with a single car garage. She owns two SUV’s that she routinely parks in her driveway. Penley says that her garage is too small to park one of her vehicles in it and she prefers not to park on the street because she’s afraid that her vehicle will get damaged or burglarized.
Penley received her first warning by Paripovich on April 1. A second warning was issued on a second vehicle in her driveway on June 3 and a third warning was issued on June 12.
On June 17, Paripovich and City Planner Debbie Scarcella spent nearly half an hour answering questions and suggesting ways to widen Penley’s driveway.
On June 20, Penley said she came home for half an hour and was going to leave shortly when she came out and found the ticket.
“The city needs to do a better job about communicating what’s appropriate and what isn’t,” she said. “I’m not the only person doing this.”
Penley said that she has numerous photos of cars parked throughout the city violating parking laws.
The city launched a Parking Etiquette Campaign last October, which was the result of three town hall meetings and deliberation by city council.
The purpose of the program is to encourage a friendlier approach to enforcement and better parking practices.
At the beginning of August, Paripovich had written 324 parking related first-time warnings. Of those, 257 were issued for parking on a sidewalk. He has written 25 parking tickets and two tickets for parking on a sidewalk.