EXETER — A string of parking tickets along Valley Street in June had residents frustrated.
Cars parked with the driver-side door facing the curb instead of the street were issued a $20 citation, and residents had 15 days to pay the fine.
Mary Ann Switzer, who’s been living on Valley Street for over 55 years, said she awoke around 2 a.m. on a Thursday to see her car being ticketed.
“My husband thought he heard the paper boy,” she said. “He came down and saw someone outside and saw the cop there. He asked what was going on and said we were getting a ticket. He said we all had to park facing the avenue and I said I’m here 55 years and said nobody ever came and told me that.”
Switzer said the officer was nice about the situation and that he was just doing his job.
Exeter Police Chief Mike Coolbaugh said he did not know his officers would issue the tickets, but stood by them, saying it has always been the law that cars have to be parked with the driver-side door facing the street.
“The laws are in the books and they’re part of our ordinances,” he said. “They’re part of state law and the officers just decided they were going to enforce the law.”
A vehicle belonging to Cathy Mackin, of Valley Street, was also ticketed but Mackin said she understands that it is the law.
“I know if it’s the law, it’s the law,” she said. “I was, in the beginning, upset about no warning, but, if you read the manual, we are parked the wrong way. When I saw other towns were giving warnings to their residents, I thought it should have been done here. But, I wasn’t angry; I thought it was just another thing happening in the day.”
Borough Mayor Herman Castellani said neither he, nor members of the borough council, told officers to issue the tickets.
Castellani said he received a ticket while parked on Susquehanna Avenue for the same reason, and he has since told the police officers not to ticket cars anymore for parking the wrong way on Valley Street and Susquehanna Avenue.
“I just told Captain Coolbaugh not to issue another ticket,” Castellani said. “What’s the difference if they’re parked a certain way?”
Attempts to reach Coolbaugh in regards to Castellani’s comments were unsuccessful at press time.
Switzer and Mackin said the tickets have since stopped, but Mackin also said the residents have learned their lesson and are all parking the proper way.
“We’re parking the correct way and now kind of laugh when we see someone is parked the other way,” she said.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher