• Appealing Wilmington

    An ongoing conversation about Wilmington's parking citation appeals process

  • The First FOIA Request of 2016

    Filed on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

    Text of Freedom of Information Act request

    Filed Tuesday, June 21, 2016

    My friends involved in the administration of the city of Wilmington,

     

    Before we get to the official Freedom of Information Act request, I want to offer the “Why” behind the “What.”

     

    Since I worked with the city in 2011 and 2012 to improve the parking situation in Wilmington (see WilmingtonParking.blogspot.com for background) – I have become the de facto “go to” guy for all things parking related.

     

    One of the issues we didn’t really get into back in 2011-2012 was the appeals process. While I’ve heard disconcerting anecdotes here and there, I wasn’t convinced there was something systemic to address.

     

    But, in the past few months, more stories came my way and yes, I filed my own appeal for a parking citation issued at a meter that did not work (which I had called in) – the appeal was filed at the end of March and when I stopped in to inquire about the status at the end of April I was told the average time for a decision on an appeal was two months. As of this writing, we’re approaching three months and I still haven’t heard anything.

     

    It would seem that we have a “glitch” in this system and I believe we have the skills and talent in this city to analyze the data and make recommendations to help the system work more smoothly.

     

    In addition to numbers and data, I think we need to also look at policies and practices – again, I’m hearing some anecdotes that, if true, should lead to some discussions about these policies and practices.

     

    It is my sincere hope that you see this as the offer for help that it is – and I encourage open lines of communication throughout this process.

     

    With all of this in mind, I now file this Freedom of Information Act request in accordance with TITLE 29, §10003 of the Delaware Code for the following data:

     

    1. number of parking citations issued, broken down by month, from January, 2014 through May, 2016
    2. number of appeals to parking citations, broken down by month, from January, 2014 through May, 2016
    3. number of appeals to parking citations granted, broken down by month, from January, 2014 through May, 2016
    4. average amount of time taken to process appeals to parking citations from January, 2014 through May, 2016
    5. number of parking citations issued to vehicles owned by a rental car company or leasing company from January, 2014 through May, 2016
    6. number of refunds processed to rental car companies or leasing companies based on successful appeals between January, 2014 and May, 2016
    7. number of meters reported broken or malfunctioning, broken down by month, between January, 2014 and May, 2016

     

     

    In addition to the above data, I am requesting answers to the following questions:

     

    1. What is the formula for late fees or fines for parking citations? Some have said they were charged $20, others $60, and still others, $100.
    2. Some have said that when they appeal multiple citations, they are offered a “deal” to just pay for one or two of the citations and the rest would be dismissed – is this a policy or has this ever been offered?
    3. Some have said they were told that late fees and fines were put “on hold” during the appeals process, but when the appeals were denied, late fees and fines were applied retroactively, covering the time of the appeals process. Is this a policy or practice?
    4. Research shows that fines for expired parking meters throughout the region (except for lower and mid-town Manhattan) are less than the $40 fines set in Wilmington:

     

     

    New York City $65 – Manhattan below 96th street

    $35 – all other areas

     

    Philadelphia $36 – Center City & University City

    $26 – Non-Center City & University City Areas

     

    Baltimore $32

     

    Washington DC $25 – with a proposal to

    raise the amount to $30

     

    Boston $25

     

    Why are the fines in Wilmington set so high?

     

    5. In 2012, the city of Wilmington installed a few parking meters that take credit card payments – but the majority of meters in the city still only accept coins – why haven’t more meters been installed to accept credit card payments in the past four years?

     

    6. I have heard from two people recently who received a parking citation and sent in their check within the 21-day time limit only to find themselves charged a late fee because the check was not processed until after the deadline had passed. I would like to know what the process is for recording when a payment is received via check.

     

     

     

    I request that as much of the data as possible be offered through email, it would be great if the data in the first section could be offered in either .csv or .xcl formats, but Word or .txt docs would be acceptable as well.

     

    I am also available and willing to come to the City/County building to help with the process of gathering/analyzing the data.

     

    I have allocated $40 to cover the cost of this request, please let me know if the cost is expected to exceed that amount so I can start a crowd-funding effort.

     

    Finally, I have launched a new website for this project – AppealingWilmington.com – where you should be able to find this request posted along with videos and other information. I expect others to come forward with their stories, and I will share those with you in an effort to gain clarification and resolution.

     

    I look forward to working with you in this effort to improve the parking citation appeals process for everyone.

     

    Ken Grant

    302-588-4151

    ken.grant7@gmail.com

     

     

  • Press Coverage

    Articles, podcasts, broadcast reports, and more...

    from The News Journal

    posted July 5, 2016

    Concerns over Wilmington's parking tickets have come a long way since 2012, when a series of changes — from discounts for early payment to improved training for parking enforcement officers — took effect largely due to citizen efforts. Now another call is going out to address issues with the appeals process, but the activist leading the charge says it's about more than just tickets.

     

    Click Here for the complete article and video.

    Some time on the Rick Jensen Show

    Posted June 21, 2016

    From the description of the Rick Jensen Show:

     

    "Rick is ranked as one the "100 Most Influential talk show hosts in America" and rarely mispronounces his own name."

     

    On June 21, just an hour or so after filing the Freedom of Information Act request with the city of Wilmington, Rick had me on his show to talk about the issue.

     

    You can listen to the podcast of the show by clicking here.

    from Technical.ly Delaware

    Posted June 21, 2016

    The parking appeals process is supposed to take care of it but in many cases it’s an arduous and just plain counterproductive process with the Wilmington Parking Authority. That’s why Delaware social media star Ken Grant is trying to do something about it.

     

    Click here for the complete article.

  • Background

    Back in 2011 and 2012, a group of citizens in Wilmington engaged with the city to improve the policies and practices regarding parking tickets - see WilmingtonParking.blogspot.com for more on that success.

     

    It appears there's now a situation with the appeals process for parking tickets in Wilmington. We're ready to step up and do our part to help the city of Wilmington by analyzing data and reviewing policies and practices to find ways to streamline the process and make the system run more efficiently for everyone.

    Wilmington Parking PSA #1

    Produced Oct. 8, 2011

    for more information, go to WilmingtonParking.blogspot.com

    Wilmington Parking PSA #2

    Produced Dec. 10, 2011

    for more information, go to WilmingtonParking.blogspot.com

    Wilmington Parking PSA #3

    Produced Dec 17, 2011

    for more information, go to WilmingtonParking.blogspot.com

    Wilmington Parking PSA #4

    Produced Dec. 29, 2011

    for more information, go to WilmingtonParking.blogspot.com

  • Updates

    just click on the posts below...

  • LET'S CONNECT

    There's plenty of ways to get in touch...

    P: +1 (302) 588-4151

All Posts
×