City of Duluth’s parking services: Prompt, friendly, forgiving

Back in late October of 2013, I spent a couple days mountain biking in Duluth, MN. My blog post: Duluth’s XC MTB trails just keep getting better. Here’s partly why.

What I didn’t blog  was on the day I met up with then IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson (he’s got a new job now) for a ride on the COGGS Piedmont trail, I got a parking ticket in the Canal Park lot near his office. I had paid for parking using the PayByPhone service but inadvertently paid for parking in stall #138 when I’d actually parked in stall #136.  As you can see, the stenciling on the pavement makes the  number 6 look pretty close to an 8:

20131002_120022 20131002_120038

I was irritated but the fine of $12 didn’t seem onerous so I planned to pay it.  I lost the ticket and promptly forgot about it.  But a few weeks ago I got a notice that my fine had grown to $45 and was about to be turned over to a collection agency. Previous notices had ended up in a pile of my aging mother’s unpaid medical bills that I was contesting.

So on Friday morning I visited the City of Duluth’s Parking Services web page and filled out their form with this: 

Hi, I was issued a parking ticket due to the poor numbering of a parking space/stall in a Canal Park parking lot. I mistakenly paid for stall #138 but I was actually parked in #136. I have the documentation that I paid to park that day since I used PayByPhone service. I have a photo of my car in the lot with the number #136 showing. Who can I talk to about this?

I really didn’t expect to hear from anyone but at 4 pm, I got this reply:

Dear Mr. Wigley: We would be happy to look into this. Could you send the vehicle’s license plate number or the parking ticket number? Thanks.


Matthew Kennedy, CAPP, CPP
Parking Manager
City of Duluth

I replied:

Hi Mathew, Thank you for the prompt reply. I’m impressed!  I should have attempted to resolve this sooner. The license plate # is [abc]. The parking ticket # is [xyz]. I’ve attached two photos and a PDF of the email/receipt from PayByPhone. Has the numbering (the stencil paint for #136 looks very much like #138) been fixed? I appreciate your willingness to consider what happened.

Mathew replied at 5:45 PM:

Dear Mr. Wigley: Ticket number 9030002018 has been dismissed and closed in our system as a one-time courtesy exception.

In your photograph that shows the space number, there are several leaves on the pavement, including one just above the number “6” and one that is resting within a gap in the stenciling for the number “6.” The latter leaf makes the number “6” look a bit like an “8.”

The photograph below, taken by the patroller at the time of ticketing, shows the number more clearly; the nearest leaf is just to the right of the “6.”


Our staff will double check the condition of the stenciling for this space number. In addition, each spring we check the striping and numbering on all of our parking lots.

Take care and have a wonderful weekend.


Matthew Kennedy, CAPP, CPP
Parking Manager
City of Duluth

Thank you, Mathew. I did have a wonderful weekend, in part because of you.


  1. David said:

    Doesn’t happen too often Grif but certainly nice to hear it still happens. Kudos to Matthew and the Duluth Parking Services.

    February 23, 2015
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Indeed, David. I expected to either be ignored or to be told that I’d waited too long to contest this.

    February 23, 2015

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