COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On a quiet Sunday morning in August, Carolyn Harper-Munnerlyn was in her home in East Columbus, when she glanced out the window and saw a parking ticket on her car.
For the first time in 25 years in this residential neighborhood, Harper-Munnerlyn was cited by Columbus Police for “parking on the sidewalk.”
“Are you kidding me?” said Harper-Munnerlyn. “Columbus Police came after us because the part of the sidewalk that comes across our driveway was covered. Mine, partially.”
She wasn’t the only one. Carolyn said about six to seven of her neighbors were also ticketed. Better Call 4 took a drive around the neighborhood, and saw several vehicles parked on or over the sidewalk. But Carolyn believes for her, a citation was unwarranted.
“I did not violate any personal safety. What did I do wrong?”
“Basically, even just that extension of her bumper being out between her driveway and getting out of it, in between the sidewalk, is what, what the issue was,” said Columbus Police Sgt. James Fuqua.
According to Chapter 2151 of the Columbus Code of Ordinances, “No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle except when necessary to avoid conflict with any other traffic or to comply with the directions of a police officer or a traffic control device in any of the following places, which include a sidewalk.”
There is, however, an exception to that rule.
“On Sundays,” said Harper-Munerlyn. “If there’s no posted ordinance that says ‘No Parking,’ you can park.”
But, not in this case, according to Columbus Police.
“The Sunday and holiday exception is one of those amendments that we have, but those are typically for parking meters or the newfound city zone streets where you have to have parking permits to be there,” said Sgt. Fuqua. “For this particular citation, that the Sunday exception does not apply.”
Which is why Harper-Munnerlyn was issued a ticket for $55. She tried to appeal it with the City, but that appeal was denied, and the price went up to $70, without explanation.
I asked Sgt. Fuqua to explain the reason behind the increase.
“Wow, I really don’t know. That’s something, I would love to find out myself,” he said.
Even though police write the tickets, the City’s Division of Parking Services handles them, including payments.
But for Harper-Munnerlyn, this isn’t about the money. She wants more clarity in the rules so this doesn’t happen again. One way to enact change is to reach out to lawmakers.
“You as the citizen have the power and the ability and the influence to get with local leaders who have the actual ability to have the statutes changed,” said Sgt. Fuqua.