D.C. parking tickets being issued at quick rate

The District of Columbia is writing parking tickets at a record clip, a new AAA study says.

AAA says that parking officials throughout the District have written more than 1.6 million tickets, costing drivers anywhere between $25 and $100, in Fiscal Year 2011; a rate of nearly 5,300 citations per enforcement day.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend says that several factors have contributed to the continued uptick in parking tickets.

"There is still a paucity of available on-street parking slots in the city, and the cost of parking in a downtown parking lot or garage, which can range from $5 to as much as $19, is expensive," Townsend says.

"That means the competition for each parking space is still fierce."

For context: 1.2 million people come into the District everyday, many of them drivers. But there are only 17,000 street parking spots.

In addition, the District looks at parking tickets as a way to raise funds.

While the final amount collected by the city for 2011 has yet to be released, the study says that by May of 2011, D.C. had already taken in over $50 million in parking ticket fines. If that pace continued, AAA projects that the city will top the $80.4 million they received in parking ticket revenue in 2010.

AAA says that parking officers issued almost 100,000 more tickets this year as compared to 2010, when the city issued approximately 1.54 million tickets.

The fines range from $20 for parking too far from the curb to $50 for parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant or parking in a crosswalk.

Meanwhile, a high number of tickets that are contested are getting dismissed, AAA says. More than 40 percent of traffic tickets that were contested in both 2010 and so far in 2011 have been dropped.

Nearly 30 agencies within the District are permitted to ticket parked cars.