ME: This meter is broken. If I park here, will I get a ticket?
PEO: How do I know you didn’t break it?
ME: Really? You saw me get out of my car. You know I didn’t break it. There’s no where else to park. Will you ticket me if I park here?
PEO: I guess not. But if you don’t come back within an hour, I’ll ticket you. Some people use a broken meter as an excuse to sit somewhere all day long. Don’t do that!
I’ve parked with abandon at broken meters ever since this conversation, and haven’t been ticketed. But hearing how others aren’t so lucky, I called the Montclair Parking Authority to check the rules. A very pleasant office clerk, who declined to give her name, informed me that yes, parking at a broken meter is a violation of ordinance 327-34.
She also offered up this gem: “Because not everyone understands the rule, there’s a workaround.” Don’t you love that word? It means a method to circumvent a problem without eliminating it. (Like the rest of us, the parking authority office clerk prefers the town council would just get rid of the fine!)
Here’s what to do the next time you get ticketed for parking at a broken meter: Call the parking authority at 973-509-4997 and give them the meter identification information on the ticket. The city will have the meter checked within a few days and dismiss the ticket if the meter is, indeed, broken.
Have you been ticketed for parking at a broken meter? Did you get the ticket dismissed? If you’ve reported a broken meter, has it been fixed?