Got a parking violation while charging Clarity on EV parking

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by ClarityKu, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. ClarityKu

    ClarityKu New Member

    The city of EC sets the rate $1.25/hr. I called/emailed the city manager and would like to make an appointment asap. No return email or phone call yet. This is not a brand new charging station, there were many many people use it. Please check PlugShare or ChargePoint apps there should be bunch of history or postings of this station.
  2. MPower

    MPower Active Member

    I just went to the Plug Share site and did not see a check in from you with a warning. I did see it on the ChargePoint site. I would talk to the City manager in a pleasan't way saying the signs at the entrance to the garage did not mention that the charging station was unavailable to the public since they advertize the price etc., on the plugins and that info must have come from the City without the additional mention that the use of the station was restricted to city empolyees.
    You might want to add that the ordinance cited forbids parking in the lot unless an employee or visitor with business. Your purpose was not parking, but "charging". It is not clear that the ordinance cited even applies to your circumstances.

    Do not deal with the police on this. They will just dig in. If the manager is unresponsive, and you are a resident of El Cerrito, I would contact your city council member and/or the mayor. Hopefully, the pols should be more responsive.

    The ideal resolution you should aim for is that they admit the ambiguity and let you off this time and change the signage on the charging station itself and on the various plugins or they confirm that the charging station is available to the public and put up a sign to that effect.

    One of the things you might want to check out is whether there is any EV charging street signage pointing to this station. Sort of like this:
    We have them all over around here. If there are, of course you would want to add that to your argument that the charging station was for general use.

    $65 is a lot of money. Good luck; may the electrons be with you!
    ClarityKu likes this.
  3. When talking to the manager of the property, you could also just gauge their opinion on use of the EVSE spots in general. I do a lot of out of town work and one of the cities I work in has 2 EVSE spaces at a community services building. The lot’s parking is limited to 2 hours but it’s about a 10 minute walk to where I work in that city from the CSB and I wouldn’t be able to be back until my lunch break about 3 hours later meaning I’d need about 3.5 hours in the spot. I emailed the parking lot management company and they gave me the email of their liaison at the CSB who was basically like “We’re happy to encourage the use of electric cars. Go ahead and park for 4 hours if you need. Just pay again once your parking expires. If you get a ticket send it to me and I’ll have it cancelled. If we get complaints about not enough chargers, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” That last bit sounded more like “I’ll use it as an excuse to get funding for more EVSEs” than “You’ll have to stop parking so long” given how our exchange went.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
  4. Texas22Step

    Texas22Step Active Member

    If I were you, I would be arguing that your use of this PAID charger (in another post you said the City of El Cerrito even sets the charging rate and (presumably) receives any proceeds from selling charging services there) puts you clearly in the exempted category under the existing ordnance of "visitors with official city business," in your case a paid transaction with this city-run charging stand.
    Walt R and JustAnotherPoorDriver like this.
  5. Texas22Step

    Texas22Step Active Member

    I'm not sure of the writer's intention regarding his or her comment about "...ignorant hybrid drivers...," but perhaps the comment was literally directed to pure hybrid vehicle owners with no plug-in at all (and thus have no business parking in a charging spot), not plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) owners (such as our Clarity cars)?
  6. AlanSqB

    AlanSqB Active Member

    You should also contact ChargePoint customer service to notify them of the situation. They have a responsibility to mark the location as private in their app if it is not open for public use. You could also ask them to help offset the fine with a charging credit since you were just trying to use their service.
  7. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    Good idea, but save this for a last step. Right now, when you are talking to officials, you want the web pages (plugshare, chargepoint, etc.) to look like they did the day of the "violation". Take screen shots of those pages with dates before they might change to "private" or "restricted".

    I am actually feeling more optimistic about your chances if Plugshare and chargepoint were advertising public use. I'm not entirely sure about the argument parking versus charging, but I kind of like it combined with the web "advertised" public use aspect. Check to see if the plugshare entry was posted as an "official act" of the municipality.

    Definitely, keep all discussions friendly and positive! You may need to start writing letters, however, in my experience, try to solve the problem by phone calls and in person meetings first, if you can. Do keep dated documentation in case you need it later. Keep brief dated notes of all of your meetings and conversations and the substance of the discussion (it gets really difficult to remember those details weeks or months later).

    Another (later) step in EV friendly CA, might be to contact the local newspaper, or even a TV station consumer help person. Is there a local EV group?

    I think the value of $65 is very relative (esp. relative to hours spent on the project), however, if you are still enjoying the project and do not succeed informally, find out if there is a traffic court, municipal court, or some equivalent to a small claims court. You may even be able (last resort) to sue the municipality Pro se (without a lawyer).
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
    AlanSqB likes this.
  8. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    If you are not actively charging, legal or not, it is just not nice to block the spot from someone who can be charging.
    LegoZ likes this.
  9. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    I would fight it in court. Take screen shots of PlugShare and ChargePoint. I would not have either update their sites until after you fight the ticket. Just like fighting a traffic ticket. I think any reasonable judge will agree that there is enough ambiguity as to the signage and what constitutes business on something that was paid for public funds. You might get away with just court costs. Politely talk to the prosecutor first if there are some options that is CYA for them, they will not admit wrong doing, but cheaper for you.
    Thomas Mitchell likes this.
  10. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    Yes, I would take pictures of the charging stations ASAP as the city manager may change the signs while you contest the ticket...

    If you are paying then I think it should be allowed as you are in a public area. Unless there is specific signage at the charging station itself saying no...

    I use a shopping center where the county Sheriff has 2 FREE L2 chargers for use by the public.
    One spot is always occupied by an employee with a Tesla using an adapter (J1772 to Tesla).
    I use that one free while I shop around the area or have lunch.
  11. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    Maybe something along these lines could work - just some some ideas for possible approaches - (check that they are all accurate and apply to your situation, just ideas, not legal advice).

    I parked my EV (PHEV) at the ____ chargepoint charging station # ______ located at _________ on _____, 2019 between about ___ and ____. I used my chargepoint (tag/app) to start a public charging session. There were no signs on the charging station indicating that this is a private or restricted use charging station. I parked (optional: as I and others have done several times before) and went shopping at nearby stores (and/or lunch, etc.). I completed the EV charging session and was billed $_____ by chargepoint for the charging session.

    On returning to my EV, I noticed a parking violation ticket. Later, I learned that there are signs, not at the charging station, but on the building, that restricts the use of this charging station to municipal employees or to those doing business in the building. I did not see those signs when I used the otherwise public looking charging station.

    Also, this charging station is listed on the EV Apps Plugshare and chargepoint as a publically accessible charging station with posted rates.

    I was not aware of the municipal restrictions of this charge station until the signs on the building were pointed out to me by a police officer familiar with the building and signage.

    I did not see and was not aware of those signs when I used the otherwise public looking chargepoint charge station, and at no time did I intend to violate a municipal ordinance.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
    ClarityKu likes this.
  12. Mariner91

    Mariner91 Member

    Yes, but Not being nice is Not illegal - unless they did word it that way, which is my question...
  13. Mariner91

    Mariner91 Member

    I can't see "everything" but shows this a NON STREET parking? From Both San Pablo Ave and Kearney St (DMV) , specifically states CITY HALL Parking. NOT a Public parking area. Maybe you had business there? But not official? I would say you should get that ticket and run (and pay it); be happy they didn't tow you away
  14. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    I see where you are coming from, and the notion of not spending time on a $65 ticket is certainly one to consider. Also, I agree that not getting towed was a good thing!

    But, I do not completely agree with the reasoning. For example, there are "free" publically available chargepoint stations on some of our local college campuses (National Grid, the power company sponsors them). Those spots are owned by the campus, but public use is not limited in any way. Okay, it is a state college, but don't think they are "public" roads either. Also, in general, it is probably courteous to leave those charge stations with some priority to the students and professors, a different question.

    Maybe a better example, a free (National Grid) L2 charge point station in Liverpool, NY on the wall of a liquor store in the store parking lot (certainly not a public property), no need to do business with either the liquor store or the adjacent grocery store. Listed on Plugshare, probably chargepoint too as freely available for public use.

    My point is, there are any number of bonafide publicly accessible charge stations on private property for those not necessarily doing business with that entity.

    If the OP wants to fight it (either for the $65, or just to win it for what looked like a publically available charging advertised on chargepoint/plugshare apps) I think the OP is on still on solid ground to protest. Will he prevail? I guess we might find out later.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  15. MPower

    MPower Active Member

    The "city business" you have on the premises is charging which you pay for. It all depends, as others have pointed out, have pointed out how much time you are willing/able to spend on this.

    If you make it a hobby and give it enough time, you can make the case and probably prevail. The ordinance that the cop cited is ambiguous with regard to your supposed offense.
  16. James123

    James123 New Member

    Go to one of the local news TV station and ask them to do a story on the reason why you got the ticket. I beat the city will do something really fast afterward.
  17. ClarityKu

    ClarityKu New Member

    And here are the photos 20190325_121233.jpeg 20190325_164233.jpeg 20190325_121157.jpeg 20190324_181836.jpeg

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Inside EVs mobile app
  18. Mariner91

    Mariner91 Member

    Small print, but pretty clean cut that the parking area is restricted. The EV in there is within the same restriction

    Put another way; if a NON ev parked there, but is a City employee or someone with official business (and placard), they won't get a ticket for being "parked in ev parking", as the pertaining regulation is about the parking lot, not the EV spot.
  19. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    I think the Plugshare page suggests otherwise, and it may depend in part on which entity posted the site to Plugshare. If I were in El Cerrito and needed to charge, I think it might be a reasonable interpretation that this is public use charge station.

    Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 5.05.42 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 5.01.45 PM.png

    I think there is a very credible argument that an exception to the small print - is anyone accepting El Cerrito's public invitation to use their chargepoint charger as they (El Cerrito?) advertise on both Plugshare and chargepoint.

    It is likely that the patrolman is not EV savy and may not be aware of either Plugshare or chargepoint advertising the EV charging spot as public access. I think the website's public advertising that the charge station is available trumps the small print.

    I would keep fighting (for the principle of it, there is some limit to the value of $65).
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
    Texas22Step and MPower like this.
  20. ClarityKu

    ClarityKu New Member

    Would you change your mind of there is a specific sign and time limit for EV only? This EV spot is for charging only. I just took this picture on the way back from lunch. 20190327_142304.jpeg

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Inside EVs mobile app

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