Both television stories focused on the parking signs in Hoboken that tell those who do not have a permit (residential, visitor, or business) that they have a four-hour limit for parking.
The question is, is the limit for parking in that spot, or anywhere in town? Can you move your car after a few hours and beat the ticket? The signs do not say.
The Hoboken Parking Utility says no -- the limit applies across town. However, the Fox report did an experiment and found that even people who are in town for a few minutes, leave, and come back later will be accidentally counted by the HPU vans as being in town the entire time. Fox's own van got ticked for such an offense.
So can someone coming in for a doctor's appointment, who wants to come back later for dinner or an errand, get towed?
In a newspaper story last week, Sacs said that yes, the law does put you on the clock as soon as you come into town, even if you leave. "When your vehicle is detected, a four-hour countdown starts," Sacs is quoted as saying in NJ.com last week. "It's not a four-hour credit where you get to drive in and out of city and come back."
However, the city website did not state that as of last week in an entry on the city website called "How to (Almost) never get a parking ticket in Hoboken." The last section attempts to clarify:
"Although seemingly confusing at first, Hoboken’s parking policies are rather simple. Aside from metered zones, there are only two types of parking zones: Permit parking (white sign) and Resident Only permit parking (green sign). If you are not a resident with a Resident permit, you can prevent the miserable experience of being ticketed and booted by not parking on the green sign side of residential streets at all costs. On the white sign side of residential streets, you can park for free up to four hours without any permit, but after that please make sure you or your Resident host has visited the Utility to get the appropriate permit; otherwise, it won’t be one of your better days. And just in case you’re curious, the white sign sides of streets throughout the entire city are considered all one zone, so moving your car to the next street after 3 hours and 59 minutes means you still have only one minute left to park for free in Hoboken."
In the WPIX report, Sacs said the laws have been in effect for 10 years. The city did step up enforcement this year, as Sacs noted in several Reporter stories. The Fox report says the city issued more than 11,000 more tickets last year than the year before.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer has said that the city will look into clarifying the signs, but that it is ultimately up to the City Council.
Visitors can park in municipal garages or at metered spaces if they don't want to park on the street. Residents can also get daily visitor parking permits for them in advance.
For more on this issue, see links below.