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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Parking in a Fire Lane With Confusing Markings

    My question involves a traffic citation from the state of: Texas, San Antonio

    I looked up the City Ordinances from IFC (

    "...FIRE LANE shall mean any area appurtenant to entrances or exits of a building
    deemed necessary by the Fire Chief or his designee to remain free and clear of
    parked vehicles for access to such building in case of fire or other emergency and
    designated by him as such, and may include sidewalks, driveways, portions of
    parking lots, or any other area adjacent to or near building entrances or exits, or
    any fire hydrant...."


    "...503.3 Markings. Upon the designation of a fire lane pursuant to this ordinance,
    the Fire Marshal shall give notice of such designation to the owner of such
    designated premise, directing the owner to cause signs to be posted at the expense
    of the owner at designated locations stating: "Fire Lane - No Parking at any Time
    City Ord. 54547." Such signs shall be of standard size and color, of standard
    lettering and mounting, conforming to specifications established by the Director
    of Public Works. In addition to the signs, the owners of such designated premises
    at their option, or, if so directed by the Fire Marshal, shall paint all fire lane curbs
    red with white-stenciled letters stating "Fire Lane, No Parking." Lettering for the
    curbs shall use 4 inch lettering with a distance of not more than 40 feet between
    wording. It shall be unlawful to park any vehicle other than an authorized
    emergency vehicle in a designated fire lane when such signs are in place or such
    red curbing exists. In areas where the fire lane may not be clearly defined, the
    Fire Marshal may require a four inch red stripe be painted that defines the
    boundaries of the fire lane...."

    My situation is in a city park where the whole park is red lined as a Fire Lane - this is the only park in a 5 mile area that did this - others have no parking zone signage - they did it here for "beauty" - no signs... no speed limit signs - no one way signs, no defined head in parking space signs even - just gravel - with a red line (with the White Lettering - not sure if it is properly spaced though) painted on the pavement,behind the gravel parking areas & for the entire road way - entrance to exit(about 3/4 mile) both sides of the thoroughfare lane - but not on the curbs. Does it matter which side of this red line you are - can it cross parking spaces? Or is it to designate a No Parking Area?

    It was a crowed day - I parked where another car exited - it was not in the driving lane & it looked like a space - there were people parked next to me - we all got tickets. ($150 ticket - vs a $35 ticket for parking in a no parking zone)

    As I was taking photos for my hopeful defense of this as being improper use of the fire lane ordinance and not posting signs with arrows to inform public properly - as I believe is required by City Ordinance... A city truck was delivering chairs - parked in the no parking zone --- in front of the only fire hydrant in the park.

    I asked if he got a ticket when the city worker returned - he stated he was doing his job - He called over the park rangers - who also stated he was doing his job - there was a lady parked behind him and she did not get a ticket either. I have the photo of the city truck and the car - with the park ranger buggy parked next to them...

    If I am wrong about the Fire Lane being invalidly used for beautification purposes (- my guess is it is also a ticket trap -) Can I use as a defense selective enforcement of the law makes it unjust - as a winning defense? And would taking more photos of cars violating and with no tickets help?

    Thank you for your time and advice in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Confused About a Fire Lane

    You are cited under Ordinance No. 19-390?
    Quote Quoting Sec. 19-390. - Prohibition against unattended vehicles in certain areas.
    The owner or operator of a vehicle may not leave unattended on a parking facility a vehicle that:

    (1) Is in or obstructs a vehicular traffic aisle, entry, or exit of the parking facility;

    (2) Prevents a vehicle from exiting a parking space in the facility;

    (3) Is in or obstructs a fire lane marked in accordance with this Code; or

    (4) Obstructs immediate access to a trash dumpster; the trash dumpster or area of immediate access to the dumpster must be conspicuously and legibly marked on all sides of access with the warning "NO PARKING-TOW AWAY ZONE." (signage shall be in white letters, or other contrasting color, at least three (3) inches tall); or

    (5) Obstructs a curb painted red and conspicuously and legibly marked with the warning "NO PARKING-TOW AWAY ZONE." (Curb markings and/or signs shall be at intervals not to exceed fifty (50) feet and in compliance with the Texas Transportation Code.); or

    (6) Is improperly parked on private property in an restricted or reserved parking area which has been properly marked pursuant to the Texas Transportation Code.
    I don't see that the amendments you mention change that ordinance provision. Consistent with what you did quote, the word "and" means that there be signs and curb markings. If they had a red curb but no signs, I don't see how they would be meeting the requirements of the ordinance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Thumbs up Re: Parking in a Fire Lane With Confusing Markings

    Thanks for the feedback. Turns out I didn't get 2 words out before hearing "Dismissed" It was an informal Hearing - basically a robe behind a desk in an office. It gave a bit of time to hear the Judge's frustration with these tickets - 4 or 5 day I found out. From Parking in a Handicapped Space to Fire Lane, none were enforceable without the proper signage.

    I did get a TV station to show interest in the story and they were surprised it was dismissed and did a followup on it. At least some people might know to fight it now. I have a feeling this is revenue enhancement that the city can excuse as a low priority "mistake". - A ticket trap.

    My focus has changed to get the City to do it Right. In response to the 1st news story, the City's Police and it's Parks spokespeople, both stated that the Fire Marshall said the red line was enough. I saw this and a 1 minute call to the Fire Marshall said he agreed with me. I sent emails about this to every city official who might have an interest in this - Mayor. Council person, city manager, other news media, police chief, Parks department, etc.... Parks department did send me a reply - basically sorry you had a bad experience we will look into it. I also sent an email to Phil Hardberger - ex-major - Parks namesake - Maybe he can get it fix because it makes the city, the park and him look bad.

    I won't stop till they change it to make it right... Sometimes someone has to stop this frustration and injustice - Its not a bad experience in the Park - its bad administration and bad for everyone to do this If they don't correct it and even worse excuse it away, then this is the worst example of our times - elected official not even following their own laws. We'll see how long it takes to be fixed because it is easy to correct - but if they just waste money on repainting it as the Parks dept. spokesperson said they would do soon... that just made bad even worse... and a little mistake just grew a bit bigger....

    Thanks again your support to know I was on the right track helped alot.

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