Ronnie Polaneczky: Reader wins $50 SmartCard for PPA's DumbTicket

Tyrone Pearsall was deemed by readers to have been hit with the lamest ticket from the Parking Authority. To beat it, he says he had to "prove a negative." (STEVEN M. FALK/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Tyrone Pearsall was deemed by readers to have been hit with the lamest ticket from the Parking Authority. To beat it, he says he had to "prove a negative." (STEVEN M. FALK/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER) (Tyrone Pearsall)
Posted: August 02, 2011

YOU'D THINK Tyrone Pearsall had won an Academy Award when I told him that he was the winner, hands-down, of our Daily News readers poll to determine which of five Philadelphia Parking Authority nightmare stories was the worst.

His prize? A $50 prepaid PPA parking-meter SmartCard.

"I'd like to thank the Daily News and everyone who voted for me," said a tickled Pearsall, whose Kafkaesque story was detailed in my column Thursday and in a short online video (see www.philly.com/fixppa). "I have to credit my wife, too. She said, 'A $76 fee is crazy! You cannot give up fighting that ticket.' "

Pearsall had been ticketed March 4 for parking in a supposed vendors-only zone on 38th Street in West Philly - except that no signs were posted designating the area as such.

When he confronted the PPA officer who ticketed his Lexus, the officer told him that temporary no-parking signs had been posted but torn down, Pearsall says. Regardless, he was somehow expected to know that the signs had once existed on the block.

Worse, at his hearing to appeal the pricey fine, Pearsall was told that the violation could not be dismissed until he could provide information to the hearing examiner detailing a) who'd put up the phantom signs, and b) the restrictions the phantom signs placed on parking.

As Pearsall told me, "How can you prove a negative?"

After obtaining letters from the Police Department, the Streets Department and Penn's safety division - all of which stated that no such signs existed in the first place - Pearsall's ticket was finally dismissed last week. But, he says, he couldn't believe how much work it took to correct the ridiculous ticket.

Neither could readers.

"It would seem the PPA thinks Mr. Pearsall is gifted with ESP in regard to the phantom no parking signs," commented an online reader named cusomano. "Does anyone at that agency have any common sense??"

Excellent question. Sadly, in this case, I think we all know the answer.

Thanks for voting, everyone. And may Tyrone Pearsall never need to compete in a contest like this again.


Email polaner@phillynews.com or call 215-854-2217. For recent columns: www.philly.com/Ronnie. Read Ronnie's blog at www.philly.com/RonnieBlog.

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