Smaller parking spaces in Hartford result in tickets - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Smaller parking spaces in Hartford result in tickets

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Larger cars are getting ticketed because they can't fit in Hartford parking spaces (WFSB) Larger cars are getting ticketed because they can't fit in Hartford parking spaces (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Have you ever found yourself struggling to parallel park in Hartford and thought, 'the spots are so tight?'

Your eyes aren't deceiving you. Parking spots are smaller in the Capital City and larger vehicles are getting slapped with tickets because of it.

“There's nothing easy about it. The parking spaces are a bit too small and depending on where you are on the street, it's a nightmare,” said Lennox Paisley, of Hartford.

Paisley was behind the wheel of his Toyota Tundra and this scenario is all too common. Many who drive trucks, SUVs or minivans are finding that Hartford isn't the easiest when it comes to parking.

On a random Friday, a Channel 3 crew couldn't make it around Bushnell Park without seeing some cars taking up parts of two spaces.

“Most times, when I park, there's something hanging over. Either the front or the back is out,” Paisley said.

As part of an experiment, the Channel 3 crew had Paisley drive to a quiet part of Lafayette Street late in the afternoon and try to fit between two legally parked cars.

He backed in too soon on his first attempt. The second attempt results in tapping the bumper of a Channel 3 vehicle.

“I think there's no parking space for a vehicle like mine, legally,” Paisley said.

He's right.

Channel 3 measured a spot on Elm Street from the middle of one line to the middle of the other. It measured 18.5 feet.

It’s a snug fit for a lot of SUVs. The best-selling Rav 4 is 15.5 feet. Midsized cars, like the popular Toyota Camry, are pushing the limit at 16 feet, but Paisley and his Tundra which start at 19 feet are sized right out of this spot. So is the best-selling truck in America, the Ford F-150.

“I try to stay away from the city as much as possible, but I live in the city,” Paisley said.

The Hartford Parking Authority confirmed a standard spot is 18 feet and has been since 2015, but they said there are spots that vary. 

Some drivers have reached out saying they've been ticketed all because what they drive won't legally fit. The city admits, larger vehicles may find it difficult to park and suggest a number of off street garages for vehicles that don't fit.

“You are going to get that ticket when you're not expecting it. You're not ready for it,” Paisley said.

Drivers aren't having those problems in neighboring towns like West Hartford, where a standard space is 20 feet.

Even those who drive standard sized cars complain they're often dealing with the repercussions of larger ones cramping their spots.

“To me, if you're keeping the spaces a little bit smaller than they should be, you're just trying to squeeze more money,” said Jon Bowling.

Clarifying WFSB's initial report, the CEO of the Hartford Parking Authority, Mingo Gomes, says the city is not looking to remove painted parking spaces and says:

"For the past three years, consistent with the City’s zoning ordinances, we have utilized a standard of 18ft per parking stall; depending on the overall available space on a block, that length can be larger. Our goal is to provide as many usable spaces as possible within our limited footprint to those that need parking downtown.  We understand that some larger SUV/trucks may be larger than a parking space and find it difficult to parallel park; HPA gladly provides ample off-street parking options for those individuals."

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