Arlington, VA

A reader, Christine, wrote in to ask about a parking ticket she recently received in Courthouse. Here’s her story:

I’m writing because I’d like to find out if any of your other readers have had the same issue I ran into last week. I received a $50 parking ticket for pulling front-end first into an angled parking space in Courthouse. These are the spots right next to the big AMC lot (cannot remember what street). Apparently the parking spaces were “Back-in Only”, which I failed to notice (admittedly this is my own fault). What I don’t understand is why Arlington is charging me $50 for pulling into a spot facing the wrong direction?! It’s not as if I was parking in a zone I didn’t have a permit for, or parked over a line taking up two spaces. It also seems like a pretty easy mistake to make, considering the street is 2-way and there is only parking on one side.

I’m not saying I don’t deserve a ticket (though I believe a warning would have been more appropriate considering this whole “back-in only” idea is not exactly prevalent), but $50 just seems insane.

We reached out to Arlington County Department of Environmental Services spokesperson Shannon Whalen McDaniel for the answer to why the spaces are back-in only. Here’s her response:

It is a safety issue. Back-in spaces are generally safer because of improved visibility when leaving the space. On 14th Street, which has a slope to it, safety is further enhanced because the cars would roll into the curb if the brakes failed.

Is a $50 fine too much, or does safety take precedence?

Update on 1/13/11 — WUSA 9 did a follow-up story to this article. Check it out here.

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