Bogus curb tickets in Hoboken?

Is parking on a Hoboken curb considered a sidewalk?

NJ transportation statutes suggest that in general, curbs should be between 4-6 inches in height. And naturally, if you were parallel parking next to a properly installed curb, you’ll certainly know if you’ve driven into it.

There are so many “curbs” in Hoboken that are either worn out completely, or so level with the street you won’t even feel that you’ve driven over one. This happened to Hoboken411 reader Dana, and she got whacked with a $56 ticket. Read on to read her woes…

“This is in regards to a ticket I received last Wednesday afternoon. When I came home from work last week, I parallel parked between 3rd and 4th on Hudson Street and when I got out of my car, I noticed my right rear car tire was slightly on the curb—but since the curb is so slanted (as many curbs in Hoboken are) I didn’t think anything of it and went up to my apartment. However, when I returned about 2 hours later to head to a rehearsal dinner, there was a parking ticket on my windshield and the $56 offense was “illegally parking on the sidewalk.” I’ll gladly admit when I’m wrong, however, I feel this ticket is completely bogus. First of all, I wasn’t parked on the “sidewalk” and second of all, I wasn’t obstructing pedestrian traffic whatsoever. I feel that this is just another way that Hoboken, Mayor Zimmer and the out-of-control HPU is robbing long-time residents of their money.

I wanted to contact you so you could make other residents aware that HPU is going around ticketing people for this and wanted to see if this has happened to anyone else. I also wanted to know if it is in fact “illegal” if one tire is just slightly on a curb that is slanted in the first place. Has this happened to anyone else? Should I attempt to fight the ticket?”

411 note: I guess the question at hand is – where does the “sidewalk” end?

One would think it ends exactly where the curb starts, since NJ law specifies the curb as a completely separate entity to sidewalk.

(And the photo above wasn’t Dana’s car – it was a similarly parked car I found after receiving her email… This car, however – didn’t receive a ticket because they had “LE” Law Enforcement plates…)

22 Responses

  1. homeworld says:

    What happens in the spots were Hoboken allows developers to install sidewalks without curbs? For instance, 717 Adams Street and 7th Street on the side of A&P. The sidewalk there started falling apart 2 weeks after it was installed since a curb was never put in to protect it.

  2. Hobo516 says:

    Seriously? Easy fix – don’t park on the curb.

  3. briank says:

    I feel for the letter writer, as there are plenty of places with little to no curb. That said, i am not sure how you can live in Hoboken and not learn how to properly parallel park. As for being robbed by the HPU, it would be nice if HPU would ticket the morons who park 2-3 feet from the curb, sticking out into the roadway. (Seems to be minivans with out of state plates on their way to Carlos in my downtown hood). I always hope karma rears its head and has a truck take off the side view mirror for doing such a terrible parking job.

  4. whineanddineinhob says:

    My lord, did this woman actually LOOK to see how she parked in comparison to other cars in back or in front of her? Don’t see any indication of this being a “bogus” ticket in this case.

  5. Stella says:

    Looking at the picture (if this is the car in question) it looks as if the front wheel is on the curb also. Not a bogus ticket. Dana you took a gamble when you saw the car was on the curb and decided not to move it. You lost, pay up!

  6. escaped68 says:

    You saw your wheel up on the curb and you went home,pay the man.

  7. hobokenj says:

    I have to agree small curb or not. You state that you knew you were on the curb (and therefore parked illegally) and left it. You took a chance and lost. You deserve a ticket.

  8. Hoboken_Andrew says:

    Dana absolutely deserved the ticket, in fact, she should have her license revoked for that parking job! I also, wonder if she will see a perpendicularly parked motorcycle next time she goes to park or will she just take a photo of it and submit it after she knocks it over (refer to last week motorcycle post).

    I believe she should just pay the $56 and be thankful the curb was not actually 4–6 inches above the street because that would have resulted in more the $56 worth of wheel damage.

  9. HansBrix says:

    An ironclad rule of Hoboken parking is “if any scenario can be interpreted however loosely as in violation of a parking regulation it will be interpreted as a violation.

    The legal concept of “ambiguous construction” is reversed.

  10. hoboken411 says:

    I’ll remind you all again – according to Dana – she was just on the “curb” portion.

    So what is it?

    Is the curb a “curb” or is the curb a portion of the “sidewalk?”

  11. Stella says:

    The curb defines the edge of the sidewalk. It’s certainly not meant to be parked on.

  12. YouStayCl@ssyHoboken says:

    Curb and sidewalk can mean different things in different contexts, however in this case, it seems like the equivalent of being called for a ‘hand ball’ in soccer and trying to argue that it was really only your finger. The curb is a one-dimensional line where the roadway ends and the sidewalk begins.

  13. doogie04 says:

    411, to clarify: For the sake of parking violations NJ law does not distinguish between the curb and sidewalk.

    The relevant section of Municipal Regulations (Article 1, Chapter 190 Vehicles & Traffic)(http://www.ecode360.com/15236785). That section (§ 190-2) specifies that Hoboken’s regulations are not exclusive, and further states that more restrictive laws & regulations control.Hoboken’s regulations do not have a definition for curb or sidewalk (§ 190-1), but point to NJ law N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 (http://bit.ly/RAuXIr) for definitions.

    The section does not define “Curb”. Since it isn’t defined for us, the dictionary definition of “curb” is “a rim, especially of joined stones or concrete, along a street or roadway, forming an edge for a sidewalk. ”

    N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 does, however, defines sidewalk as :

    “Sidewalk” means that portion of a highway intended for the
    use of pedestrians, between the curb line or the lateral line of
    a shoulder, or if none, the lateral line of the roadway and the
    adjacent right-of-way line.

    So the sidewalk extends to the “curb line”, but is that the outer (roadway) or inner (sidewalk) edge? It’s not defined, but lets look at the rest of the language. Well, it’s arguable that the curb is intended for “use of pedestrians” as the surface is inline and continuous with other portions of the sidewalk. That points to the outer edge. Further supporting that idea, the sidewalk extends to “the lateral line of the shoulder” or the “lateral line of the roadway”. The state was kind enough to tell us what “Shoulder” and “Roadway” mean:

    “Shoulder” means that portion of the highway, exclusive of
    and bordering the roadway, designed for emergency use but
    not ordinarily to be used for vehicular travel.”

    “Roadway” means that portion of a highway improved,
    designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive
    of the berm or shoulder.

    It’s a bit incredulous for anyone to argue that that a portion of the curb, no matter how shallow, is part of the “shoulder” because we understand that a shoulder is designed for “emergency use” and everwhere we encourage car usage is, well, flat, and not 6″ vertical lips (even if the one in question was shallower). Similarly, on a road without a shoulder the end of the roadway is “the portion….ordinarily used for vehicular travel”. We don’t ordinarily use the curb for vehicular travel. This post is running on a bit at this point, but if you look at how intersections are defined they use the outer side of the curb as well.

    So lets turn back to the car on the curb. Yes it was pissy to issue a ticket. Nevertheless, the The list of motor vehicle ticket violations published by NJ state courts (http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/mcs/svbs_12-03/pt1_a.pdf) lists 39:4-138(f) Improper Parking on Sidewalk. That segment of the code (http://bit.ly/N4BwCd) is titled: “Places where parking prohibited” In relevant part the statute reads :

    Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic … no operator
    of a vehicle shall stand or park the vehicle in any of the following places:

    (f)On a sidewalk;

    So we know the sidewalk extends to the outside curb line. This includes what we think of as the curb. Parking isn’t allowed on curbs.

    So in this particular case, NJ Law does not separates curb and sidewalk.

    • hoboken411 says:

      Fine – but I still think summonses shouldn’t be issued if curbs aren’t high enough to “feel” that you’ve barely parked an inch on them. It’s like coloring outside the lines at this point. To take money away from someone for such a minor “offense” (if you even want to call it that) is frustrating to say the least.

  14. escaped68 says:

    If there is any hint of a curb or anything resembling a curd you make sure you stay 6 inches from it. Remember you have the HPA with their draconian attitude and you know about this attitude and you still take the chance, again pay the man.

    • escaped68 says:

      OOPS, thats curb[quote comment=”216719″]If there is any hint of a curb or anything resembling a curd you make sure you stay 6 inches from it. Remember you have the HPA with their draconian attitude and you know about this attitude and you still take the chance, again pay the man.[/quote]

  15. animal_lover says:

    This ticketing is absurd in that there are so many actual obstructions on the side walk such as bikes chained to fences.

  16. YouStayCl@ssyHoboken says:

    Agree 100% that bikes are more of a sidewalk obstruction, and compared to enforcement of real moving violations regarding stop signs and crosswalks, this is petty stuff. But the law is reasonably clear and those PEOs and their managers are being measured for ‘efficiency’ and that means the more tickets they write per hour the better they look.

  17. briank says:

    If the HPU employees have quotas, why aren’t they just standing outside Benny Tudino’s and handing out tickets for double parking? The entire block is double parked, bringing Washington St to a near standstill.
    Loved the girl yesterday morning at 8:30 who double parked her little SUV outside of Starbucks on Washington so she would not have to walk. Half the block was open for parking but it would have meant walking 30 feet. Instead someone in Starbucks had to wait for her lazy a$$ to get her coffee and move her car.

    • YouStayCl@ssyHoboken says:

      I’m assuming that’s a rhetorical question, but I’ll venture a couple thoughts.. 1) double parking makes the street safer for jaywalking pedestrians by slowing down traffic, 2) keeping business healthy and commerce flowing is more important than alleviating occasional personal annoyances.. I think in a way those new meters enhance the double-parking problem, as in your SBUX example.[quote comment=”216729″]If the HPU employees have quotas, why aren’t they just standing outside Benny Tudino’s and handing out tickets for double parking? The entire block is double parked, bringing Washington St to a near standstill.Loved the girl yesterday morning at 8:30 who double parked her little SUV outside of Starbucks on Washington so she would not have to walk. Half the block was open for parking but it would have meant walking 30 feet. Instead someone in Starbucks had to wait for her lazy a$$ to get her coffee and move her car.[/quote]

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