Parking tickets near Nationals Park overturned upon further review

WASHINGTON — More than 40 Washington Nationals fans who received parking tickets for not paying to park are off the hook, WTOP has learned.

The tickets were issued after the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) launched a public campaign to tell drivers that they had to pay for street parking for every Nationals home game, including holidays and Sundays.  But DDOT admits that 26 parking meters were not working on Emancipation Day and Sunday, April 19. 

“After an investigation, what we found out was that there was a glitch in the electronic program to prevent the conversion to allow the meters to take payment on Sundays or holidays,” says DDOT Spokeswoman Michelle Phipps-Evans.

“As people are looking around the ballpark, you’ll see these new meters that are more user friendly and high-tech. We were trying to upgrade and, at the same time, we were pulling the old meters. So there was some sort of programming issue that we’re looking into to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she adds.

No tickets were written on Emancipation Day. But 44 parking tickets were written on April 19 for not paying to park, as WTOP previous reported.

DDOT reviewed each of the tickets and found that 43 of 44 tickets were written at meters that were not turned on correctly.

DDOT asked DPW, which wrote the tickets, to cancel the 43 tickets. DPW Spokeswoman Linda Grant says it will request the tickets be thrown out.

“For the gameday parkers who received these tickets, we really apologize about that. We can understand what can happen when you’re at a game, you’ve been enjoying it and you come back to find a ticket. That can really deflate your entire day, especially when it wasn’t your fault. We truly understand that,” says Phipps-Evans.

She says that DDOT engineers are out this week to test all the meters to make sure they will accept payment on Sundays and holidays. Engineers will continue the work next week, if necessary.

Phipps-Evans wants fans to know that all the meters will work properly on Sunday, May 10, when the Nationals host the Braves at 1:35 p.m.

“I will make sure myself and go down there and check that they are programmed properly,” says Phipps-Evans.

Programming fixes to the meters should ensure that the meters will also work on July 4 and Labor Day when the Nationals are playing at home as well.

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