Can I park at a broken meter?


Can I park at a broken meter?

Most of my individual parking issues are caused by a lack of information. Sure, I got my driver’s license all those years ago and proved I could make left turns, park and decipher the color codes on the curb, but nobody every taught me the more detailed regulations of parking. And anyway, everywhere I go has different laws, rules and payment strategies.

For instance, I headed out to a local shopping area last week. It was packed with people and parking was tight. In what seemed a stroke of good luck, I found a spot right in front of the store I needed to visit. When I got out to pay, there was the hitch: a small note inside the meter saying it was broken.

I think that note is the reason the spot was empty, but I had a strong feeling, reinforced by a pressing need to park, that it is legal to park at a broken meter. Nobody’s making money off that space, but the space is still up for grabs, right?

I weighed my options, and considering what I know of parking enforcement in the area, decided to risk it. I was in and out of the store and drove off without a ticket. I still don’t know if that was legal or not, but I guess I got away with it. What I’d like is a cheat sheet, easy to read and easy to find, that will answer this question, and several others.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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