Civic News
Data / Municipal government / Transportation

Appealing Wilmington parking tickets is a pain. Can this FOIA request fix it?

Delawarean Ken Grant wants to improve the parking ticket appeals process through data analysis.

Ken Grant files a Freedom of Information Act request to analyze data about parking ticket appeals in Wilmington. (Courtesy photo)

Anyone who is a part of the driving population has experienced this: The crushing disappointment of approaching your car, only to see that dreaded white-and-blue slip with an envelope labeled “parking violation.” Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t.
The parking appeals process is supposed to take care of it but in many cases it’s an arduous and just plain counterproductive process with the Wilmington Parking Authority. That’s why Delaware social media star Ken Grant is trying to do something about it.
Over four years ago, Grant was successful in making changes in the parking citation issuing process (as chronicled in his blog). But now, he plans on taking on the parking ticket appeals process.
Grant just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Once the request is fulfilled, he plans of working with Open Data Delaware to analyze the data and see where the inefficiencies lie in the system. He previously received support from the Community Reinvestment Action Council and hopes to receive added support from new partners this time around.
According to Title 29, the City of Wilmington now has 15 days to either to collect and share the data or ask for an extension. There is also the option to deny the request, but Wilmington will be legally bound to explain the reason for the rejection.
“Once we have the data, we’ll take a look and see if it’s a matter of too many broken meters, too many illegitimate tickets being given out, or just too many people appealing,” Grant said. “I’d like to jumpstart the conversation again and see what I can find. I would assume that within a couple of weeks we’d be well on our way to have a conversation or engaging with the city.”
According to Grant, the FOIA request is meant to unearth the following information:

  1. Number of parking citations issued, broken down by month, from January 2014 through May 2016
  2. Number of appeals to parking citations, broken down by month, from January 2014 through May 2016
  3. Number of appeals to parking citations granted, broken down by month, from January 2014 through May 2016
  4. Average amount of time taken to process appeals to parking citations from January 2014 through May 2016
  5. Number of parking citations issued to vehicles owned by a rental car company or leasing company from January 2014 through May 2016
  6. Number of refunds processed to rental car companies or leasing companies based on successful appeals between January 2014 and May 2016
  7. Number of meters reported broken or malfunctioning, broken down by month, between January 2014 and May 2016

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