San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Don’t like how someone parked? Give ‘em a ticket 

The sidewalks in San José are so tight it can be hard for two people to walk down them shoulder-to-shoulder, especially when there’s a car parked on the sidewalk and it’s raining. But fear not, intrepid pedestrian, now there’s a way for you to let that inconsiderate motorist know how you feel about their parking job that doesn’t involve cussing.

The urban development and public transportation advocacy organization #MovetePorTuCiudad, along with ChepeCletas and Costa Rica Limpia, picked up a trick from other cities around the world that lets pedestrians and bicyclists hand out “citizen tickets” for bad parking.

The tickets, which can be printed here, say in Spanish, “You’ve won a #CitizenTicket for #BadParking.” The idea is to slide them under the windshield wipers of offending vehicles.

(Courtesy #MovetePorTuCiudad)

Theodoro Mezger, director of #MovetePorTuCiudad, told The Tico Times the tickets, which are not legally binding, are a light-hearted way to raise awareness about alternatives to driving and an outlet for frustrated pedestrians.

Mezger said ticket recipients thus far have largely reacted defensively.

“When someone gets one of these tickets they usually say it’s because there’s no place to park,” Mezger said. He called bad parking jobs a symptom of wider failings in public transportation options.

Mezger said people should consider alternatives to driving a car to reduce congestion and demand on public space for parking, he said.

Public shaming

There’s also a social media component to the campaign that Mezger hopes will be more effective than a real ticket from a Transit Police officer. Using the hashtags #ParteCiudadano and #MalParqueado, users are asked to snap a photo and post it to social media to give inconsiderate parkers an extra push.

“People would rather get a ticket for ₡100,000 (roughly $200) than get called out on social media networks,” he said.

Mezger admitted some people don’t take the idea of getting a fake ticket as lightly as he would like, but he thinks the conversation is worth having.

“Some people own cars but we are all pedestrians,” he said. “We have to ask ourselves who runs this city: cars or people?”

Check out this example of #MalParqueado:

Contact Zach Dyer at

Comments are closed.

Ken Morris

Great! This is actually something I thought of doing on my own, though my polite ticket would include the threat that the second offense will be handled by vandalizing the car. It’s already very tempting to take a key out of my pocket and scrape it along the car as I squeeze by.

However, as I have mulled the matter, I have concluded that it runs deeper than the thoughtless selfishness of individual motorists. It has to, since it is seemingly the norm rather than the exception for motorists to park illegally.

In my neighborhood, there are two restaurants operating with a business model premised on illegal parking. I have not only scratched my own head over this but discussed it with a friend who has experience opening and running restaurants. I would personally never invest money in a business that requires customers to park illegally. Would he? He said that no, he wouldn’t either, the lack of parking would dissuade him. However, I’m here to tell you, that it doesn’t dissuade others.

As it happened, just today I chanced across the people who give the tickets to illegally parked cars, and asked one about the closest restaurant that assumes customers will park illegally. She explained that they cover a large area and can’t be everywhere all the time.

And she would need to be to cite even a fraction of the illegally parked cars. Again, I also live near PAC headquarters, and they park illegally too. There are also commercial strips where the sidewalks are lined with parked cars–which is not to mention the one or two usually parked on the sidewalk in front of the drugstore, sometimes with their motors still running, I assume while the driver runs in to pick up something.

I also recall my own attitude growing up a motorist in the US where some 95% of everyone over 16 drove. Of course, we all parked wherever we could get away with it, and even laughed about it.

So I suspect it’s natural for motorists to see themselves as the center of the earth, but the difference in the US was that we really were. Almost everyone drove and did the same thing. Here maybe 25% drive, and when they park illegally, they are both annoying and endangering the vast majority of the population.

My conclusion is that a major attitude adjustment is required by many people. When illegal parking is so acceptable that businesses open assuming that their customers will park illegally, this attitude is way out of control.

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They oughta affix some really sturdy ‘cow-catchers’ onto the front bumpers of all emergency vehicles and use them to just shove such offendingly parked cars out of the way, any unfortunatelt incurred dents be damned!

It wouldn’t take but a few reports of such ‘bashings’ in the newspapers for folks to suddenly become enlightened that they ought not park blocking emergency vehicles if they don’t want their car duly dented..

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