There's nothing quite like the feeling of finding a parking ticket left on your car's windshield. But what if you knew exactly where the most parking tickets were written in Houston?
Local 2 Investigates analyzed a database of 415,000 parking tickets written from 2012-2013, and found a few city blocks and parking lots had thousands more parking tickets than anywhere in the city.
At 8300 Tybor Drive in southwest Houston, drivers park to make a trip inside an Internal Revenue Service building. If those taxpayers' days aren't bad enough, the city has handed out 2,370 parking tickets on this one block since 2012.
The parking tickets come after dark on the 1600 block of California in Montrose. Neighbors try to warn drivers that they can't park on their street after 5 p.m. without a resident parking permit, but most don't follow the warning. Since 2012, parking enforcement officers have issued 2,603 tickets on the small neighborhood street.
"I usually try to be nice to the people trying to park," said Sylvie Moore, who lives on the street. "But most of the people are nasty to me."
For some drivers it's worse. Every car that gets a parking ticket can also be towed away.
"Is there ever a night that goes by where someone doesn't get towed?" Local 2 investigator Jace Larson asked.
"No," said Gina Vosko, another neighbor.
The neighborhood street is one block from new bars and restaurants on Westheimer. The houses on the street have no driveways and only a few garages, so only residents get a permit to park at night.
"We wouldn't be able to park here if there weren't those no parking signs," Vosko said.
Another popular spot for parking tickets, a city-owned parking lot under the Southwest Freeway and Fannin. The lot at 4400 San Jacinto is next door to the Mexican Consulate. In two years, drivers using the lot have walked away with 3,383 tickets.
Night-time parking is off limits at the 400 block of Texas Avenue near the Hard Rock Cafe and Bayou Place, but drivers still park there every night. The night Local 2 Investigates watched the area, every car had a parking ticket. Since 2012, parking enforcement officers have written 4,156 tickets --making it the second-most ticketed spot in the city.
Getting a ticket at the top spot for parking tickets in Houston ironically means you've already received some sort of bad news.
"How can you come to a place to pay for a ticket, and get another ticket in the process?" said Tatiana Cox, a Houston resident.
More parking tickets are written at the parking lot at Houston Municipal Court at 1600 Lubbock than anywhere else in Houston. In the past two years, parking enforcement handed out 5,423 parking tickets.
"The places with the most tickets are mostly heavy-use areas," says Chris Newport, a spokesperson for the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department. "They're either popular areas where many people are going to park, or they're popular areas where we get a lot of complaints."
Newport said one way to avoid getting a ticket is to use the city's Parkmobile app. Using the app, you can pay for your parking meter using your smartphone, and when there's 15 minutes left on your meter time, you'll receive an alert. Then, you can add more time right from your phone.
Here's a map of the parking ticket hot spots around Houston:
Number of parking tickets issued by the City of Houston, 2012-2013:
5,423 1400 Lubbock
4,156 400 Texas St.
3,383 4400 San Jacinto St.
3,184 900 Girard St.
2,603 1600 California St.
2,370 8300 Tybor Dr.
2,271 1000 Texas St.
2,011 1100 Texas St.
1,981 1500 Kane St.
1,922 300 Caroline St.
1,865 500 Walker St.
1,777 100 San Jacinto St.
1,699 900 Franklin St.
1,665 1900 Travis St.
1,607 1600 McKinney St.
1,443 400 Avondale St.
1,438 12300 North Freeway
1,427 200 Caroline St.