F.C. Police Chief Outlines Parking Enforcement Policy

Falls Church Police Chief Mary Gavin came before the F.C. City Council Monday in response to a request from Vice Mayor David Snyder to deliver a report on the “ever so challenging” task of parking enforcement in the city. After almost exactly one year of effort by a part-time parking enforcement officer, she reported, 3,260 tickets have been issued, ten times more than in the past, and $150,000 in fines exacted.

Gavin said that “discretion is the life blood of the policy” in response to concerns from Snyder that citizens had reported being written tickets with $500 fines in the presence of a motorist who only momentarily stopped in a handicapped parking space, and a pattern of ticketing the cars of city residents that are parked in front of those residents’ homes more than three days. Councilman David Tarter complained that to challenge a ticket required spending hours in a courtroom while in other jurisdictions, challenges are handled by an administrative process. He also said that the city should move to installation of on-street parking meters.

Chief Gavin conceded that more attention to the issue has resulted in “both adding and deleting” parking spaces around town.