Residents ticketed in their own driveways

May 27, 2008 4:18:00 PM PDT
Some residents in southeast Houston were not happy to see parking tickets on their cars -- as their vehicles sat parked in their own driveways. But officers do have the law on their side.Some homeowners have even gotten multiple citations, and there's very little they can do to fight the tickets.

Arriving at the home Norman Theriot bought more than 40 years ago just isn't as sweet as it used to be.

"It seems like we're just being hassled too much, really," he said. "I mean, you can't even relax in your own house."

Theriot can't relax because he's worried he might get a ticket in his own driveway. It happened to his son last week. He got a $35 ticket for blocking a city sidewalk.

"There was plenty of room for people to walk around," Theriot said.

But Alvin Wright the City of Houston Public Works Department said that isn't good enough. State law prohibits drivers from blocking sidewalks.

Wright explained, "A person in a wheelchair... You're forcing a person who has their baby in a stroller to actually use the street to get through. That's not fair. That's not right."

Still, Theriot and some of his neighbors consider the city's sudden enforcement of the state law that's more than a decade old in their southeast Houston community to be unfair. He's parked this way for about 42 years.

"They started issuing warnings -- 165 warnings -- and then they started giving tickets, and then my phone started ringing," said another neighbor.

At $35 each, homeowners guess the city has made more than $5,000 in tickets in their community over the past couple of weeks.

"It's a law that's on the books," Wright said.

It's a law that people in Freeway Manor are learning every time a parking attendant leaves those distinctive yellow envelopes. Part of the problem in this community is the homes were built more than 40 years ago, most of them with single car garages. The city will come out and education your civic club about this parking law and others like it.

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