Understanding parking tickets

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Published 2010-10-19T17:28:00Z”/>


Kelly Ward

Some may think it saves money to not pay parking meters, but their efforts are in vain when a ticket shows up on the windshield.

A ticket for an expired meter costs $25, according to Chico Police Department’s parking ticket fee schedule.

Much of the time, there will be a parking enforcement officer walking around the downtown area from First to Fifth streets and Normal Avenue to Flume Street, said Mike DiGiordano, community services officer for the Chico Police Department.

Cassi Deremo, a senior English major, always pays her meter.

She often parks around Second and Normal streets and thinks that the change she uses to keep her meter green is worth not getting ticketed, Deremo said. She has only received one ticket.

The meter had been expired for about a minute, but just as she got to it to put in change, she was handed a parking ticket, Deremo said.

There are three traffic enforcement officers that patrol the downtown area in five-hour shifts throughout the 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. time window that the meters are active, DiGiordano said.

Sometimes they will wait until 8 a.m. to give people a 30-minute buffer in case they left their car in a spot overnight, he said.

If the meter is expired, the officers can give a ticket anytime during the 10.5-hour window, he said.

At 36-minute meters, a person can get a $25 ticket every 36 minutes they stay in that spot, DiGiordano said. The same rules apply for all other meters.

Three officers patrol the downtown area, but DiGiordano covers the rest of Chico by car, he said. He cannot easily cover every meter, but tries to keep people parking outside the downtown area on their toes.

“People never know when I’m going to come up,” he said.

Christie Grens, a senior English major, has received about 15 parking tickets for meter violations, she said.

She rarely pays her meter because she typically does not have any change on her.

She has recently discovered that even though she rarely pays her meter, when she parks on certain streets, she rarely gets a ticket, she said.

To challenge a ticket, a person can go through the appeals process.

“I have yet to see one of those overturned,” DiGiordano said.

Sometimes, people can be rewarded for good behavior, he said. If someone is polite and understanding or is already trying to get more money in the meter, sometimes the parking officer will just tear up the ticket.

Kelly Ward can be reached at

[email protected]


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