Princeton Parking Meter Enforcement Personnel Suspended

Starbucks StickerThe two employees for the town of Princeton who enforce parking regulations have been suspended without pay pending the outcome of an investigation into whether they gave preferential treatment to employees of some local businesses, Princeton Administrator Robert Bruschi confirmed this morning.

The suspensions came a day after Planet Princeton published a story detailing what appears to be a system of “play to park”, in which some business owners and employees of restaurants, delis, coffee shops and other stores were given a free pass to park at expired meters and park all day in two-hour parking spots, possibly in exchange for free food or beverages.

In many cases employees placed menus, shopping bags, coasters, stickers or business cards on the dashboard of their vehicles to signify they worked for a particular business. These vehicles never received tickets. In a few cases it appears that the car was known to enforcement personnel by the make, model and license plate, as has been witnessed by residents, employees of some businesses, and Planet Princeton.

Residents and some business owners have become increasingly frustrated at the selective lack of enforcement and lack of responsiveness when the issue has been reported to police. One Humbert Street resident called police at least three times last week and said she got the brush off.  More than 16 cars were parked on Humbert Street and Greenview Avenue but never received tickets. Each vehicle had some sort of business identifier on the dashboard.

“I have been a resident of Humbert st in Princeton for 16 years. This street is a 2-hour parking zone.  My daughter recently received a ticket for parking just over the 2 hour limit, and I myself have received a ticket for parking on my own street when workmen were parked in my driveway,” wrote the resident. “For several weeks now, cars have been parked on Humbert Street from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. On investigation, these cars all have a D’angelos menu or some designation visible on the dash board.

“When I called the police, they said there was not much they could do,” the resident wrote. “When I replied `you could ticket those cars as they are illegally parked’ they promised they would check this out. They did not, and the cars remained on Humbert Street unticketed.”

The resident was told she her complaint would be referred to a supervisor and on one called her back. Then she was told she would have to talk to a sergeant but that he was out. The resident finally received a call back about an hour after the story about the parking issue was reported on Planet Princeton.

Residents and business owners say the suspension of the two meter personnel is not enough. They are calling for a full investigation to determine whether some police officers were participants in the arrangement with employees of food establishments.


  1. Planet Princeton driving the agenda again. Pretty incredible that the two traffic control officers have been suspended- I guess that means nobody is controlling parking downtown now?

    1. Police are writing tickets. It is the persistent residents who would not give up on this issue who are driving the agenda.

        1. With all do respect, give residents credit. Some residents are active citizens. Why do you think NONE of the residents knew about this before the story?

          1. I never said they didn’t KNOW or even act. I said they didn’t get attention. Often people don’t get attention till media brings it. Having read more about this, I now understand that the residents alerted PP to the problem, so obviously they did have impact, if indirectly. I was not aware of that when I first read krystalknapp’s comment – which is why I asked my question!

          2. Oh please, I have see “active residents” get off many parking tickets~~or a Meter guy not give them a parking ticket since they are “active residents! Its about consilidation and the whole Old Princeton Boro PD! Notice theirs not one TWP guy with a lawsuit, ticket problem ect ect..when their was consilidation a conspiracy began..even with the Mayor who hired her own family members within the Municipality! Whats that called ????? hummmm

    2. when Princeton government fails repeatedly to respond to its citizens concerns we are fortunate in this country to have a free press. kudos to krystal knapp who listened to the residents of this town and exposed the corruption. it takes a true journalist with true grit to penetrate a corrupted system. live long and prosper Planet Princeton. you have served our town with distinction.

  2. I love SFB’s comment which is essentially: ‘Leave corruption in place — otherwise we’ll have no one at all to serve and protect.’

    1. Um, I think if you look at my earlier comments, you’ll find that I was totally in favor of putting a stop to the existing corrupt practice. I am delighted that Krystal brought this story to public attention. A democracy only works if there is a media that holds officials to account, and nobody else is doing it.

      I’m just amazed at what a radical solution the town has followed. If we don’t have parking attendants, then somebody else has to write tickets, or there’ll be chaos. If the cops are writing parking tickets, then who is doing the police work? I hope a permanent solution is found quickly. It strikes me that certain local businesses have been engaged in bribing of public officials. Are they going to get off without any action being taken?

  3. It would be a great help if residents of these 2-hour limit streets could get all-day parking permits for themselves. Having cars park all day who do not belong there is a problem, but so is getting a ticket when you are parked in front of your own house, just because you did not change your spot every 2 hours.

  4. As a borough resident I have received my share of Princeton parking tickets. I have always been amazed at how quickly these tickets were written, often just minutes after the meter expired. Now I understand why our meter attendants showed me zero tolerance. Essentially, they had to make up for the many tickets they had agreed to not write.

  5. Wonder if the individuals suspended were the same who ticketed me for parking on Moran overnight, even though its neither signed nor zoned as 8-8 parking

    1. I doubt it, since the overnight tickets are given out by the police in the middle of the night, when the parking officers aren’t working.

  6. the arbitrary enforcement of the parking regulations is the exact reason that I keep change in my purse. If I see an expired meter or one that’s about to expire, I pop a quarter in there. And yes, I know I’ll get in trouble if they catch me.

      1. It is not illegal to pay for someone else’s parking, but it’s illegal to feed a meter if vehicle was parked for more then posted time limit.

          1. I don’t think it is illegal, but the parked vehicle is still liable for a ticket if it exceeds the maximum time limit. It doesn’t matter if the owner fed the meter or somebody else did, the car is still illegally parked if the 2-hour limit is up. Parking attendants are able to scan license plates in a lot and record what vehicles are present at a particular time. Then they can come back 2 hours later and ticket every vehicle that has over-stayed the limit. So there is little advantage to feeding somebody else’s meter, and you’d do better to give your quarter to a deserving charity.

            1. SFB you are uninformed idiot. You don;t research what you believe. and your comments are condecending and narsissitic.

  7. Anyone who has had even one dealing with these testosterone-fueled meter-maids could tell they are corrupt. They track and target certain owners, they selectively enforce, and in some cases they make up infractions that don’t happen by using the NJ DMV database to fill in details. And now we learn that they were bought off by a ham sandwich and a cup of coffee! Says it all about Princeton’s government.

    1. Are you sure youre taking about the Princeton Meter guys? I have a business in town and these guys go out of their way to be kind and fair. Once a ticket is started it cannot be dismissed..if you have an issue with that then go to the Police Station! These men do alot more than just ticket cars, they help everyone in town with directions to local busineses, school crossings, and watch the dangerous cross walks so people dont get hurt! Where are you getting your info from Engelbert? You must be in the wrong town!

        1. Kali~~~~~~~ its nothing like “Mr Rodgers” its alot of your and kindness involved for the Merchats, employees, townsfolk and visitors~~ too bad you didnt notice!?

  8. In general, parking in Princeton is a nightmare, but learning that some people get privileges and the residents get tickets is simply outrageous.

  9. These expose articles are deflecting attention to the real issue here: the lack of affordable parking for the people who live and work in Princeton. Serious accusations are being leveled at specific businesses and parking officials which seems irresponsible and distasteful to me. Face it – the parking in downtown Princeton exists for the convenience of the patrons of the stores and restaurants willing to pay the premium. FreeB is set up for this aim as well, the service times reflect that. I would love to see the real scandal esposed… continued town planning that does not take into consideration the people who serve the area and live there.

    1. Not deflecting attention, bringing attention. Yes, parking is a problem, esp. if you are cheap (i.e. won’t use the garages) or lazy (won’t walk four blocks).
      But parking is available, except for during peak events, etc. You just have to know where to look and walk.

      1. I have been comming from out of town for the last 25 years. I have fed the meter maybe 5 times, used the garage less than 10 times. And got 2 tickets, (one for parking too long on green street, and it was dismissed becuase the time of writting of the ticket was 11:00, and I had and kept a doctors appointment in Ewing at 10:00. Green street parking is 2 hours). There are plenty of places to hide. I am just not greedy.

    2. If the officers actions were trivial, why is the Mercer County Procuter investagating? Art you ARE a scholor. Your observation is paramount.

  10. I have no idea how long this practice was going on but I’m going to guess the old Boro Council (or a portion of BC members, say maybe the public safety committee or some other committee?) informally adopted this policy & passed it down to the meter maids who merely followed orders. How could the meter maids “collect” on their lack of enforcement, by walking into an establishment & saying,”I didn’t give you or one of your colleagues a ticket now give me a ham sandwich”. I doubt it. This is more far-reaching. My guess is that this is just an example of one of the old tricks of the old Boro Council to foster “economic development” at a cost to the local residents. I hope the meter maids sing & implicate the correct parties. The public deserves to know.

  11. First off, let me say that I don’t agree with letting people off the hook just because they work in town and plaster their stores “mark” in the windshield of their personal vehicle. I work downtown and have never received a ticket while on the job. I get there with time to spare just incase I have to drive around a bit to find an appropriate spot for my eight hour shift. With that said…

    Working, not just in Princeton, but anywhere with a bustling downtown, it is a workers responsibility to plan ahead, and allot enough time in their commute to find the appropriate parking, whether it be non-metered, or eight-twelve hour limit. And although convenience is most definitely a determining factor in their decision to park where they do, it may reflect poorly on themselves. Entitled, a lack of care, poor planning, and maybe laziness?

    There are a lot of problems when it comes to parking downtown, whether it be a personal vehicle, or commercial. Most of the meters in Princeton have two hour limits. Though most people seem to be good with not breaching that limit, I have on occasion witnessed meter feeding. The whole point of the two hour limit is to allow everyone visiting or passing through a chance to find a spot, and visit the shops. It does not mean you can fill up the meter, and come back two hours later and fill it up again. Two hours is the limit, not only in that spot, but on that street. It seems that this isn’t common knowledge. If you plan on staying longer than two hours, the parking garages have longer limits, as well as some of the bordering streets further away from downtown.

    In response to what Mr. Williams said:

    With the way loading zones are placed, it can be quite difficult at times for commercial vehicles to get in a decent position to load/unload. Commercial vehicles that park in expired spots, from my experience, don’t stay there very long. They’re [usually] on the job, [usually] have a mission, and [usually] leave once they are done. And though this may aggravate someone looking for a spot, it’s much better than having said vehicle parked in the street with their hazards on, thus creating a line of traffic behind. I know I can only speak for myself, but when I park storefront at an expired meter, I’m not there more than 15 minutes. I load/unload what I need to and I’m on my way. Now someone may argue, “that’s what the loading zones are for.” I would have to agree, at least that’s what they’re SUPPOSED to be for. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled up to a loading zone only to be greeted by two or more personal vehicles with their hazards on. It’s really a catch 22. If there is a spot in the loading zone I’ll take it. If not, I’ll take a metered spot and make my business quick.

    Though I don’t think the meter attendants were being bribed so much as they were being lenient and nice, I still think it’s unfair when there are signs clearly stating what you can and can’t do. All in all, leniency with MARKED commercial vehicles who are swift about their duties shouldn’t be a problem, but when personal vehicles come in to play there shouldn’t be any exceptions. Just because you work in a shop downtown doesn’t give you the entitlement to free and ticketless parking.

    End of rant.

    1. mr Williams,
      we are not in Kansas anymore. there is clear evidence of a quid pro quo on the part of some if not all the businesses who appropriate our public streets for their convenience. you are clearly not one of those individuals who is part of the problem, and 15 minutes extended time at a meter when no other options are available is understandable. but those residents who are reporting the abuse have documented this for some time. it is just now being given a forum for discussion and problem solving. I have no evidence that the merchants have invested in trying to solve the problem of insufficient loading zones other than to bribe members of the police dept.(it is unclear as to how deeply this corruption has penetrated our police dept not to mention the Princeton governing body itself). interesting that no merchant has offered a defense. perhaps because there is none.

  12. So presumably they will get early retirement, a pay off and a full pension, and then at some point the town will be sued by someone. Isn’t that what usually happens in situations like this?

    1. According to the report on this same story, at least one of the parking officers has already retired from the police force and receives a pension of $4400 per month, in addition to his new salary (and benefits?) of $40k as a meter maid. NIce work if you can get it. Wanna bet that he got his job through the same rigorous Boro Hall employment procedures that allowed the nepotism hiring of an administrative aide last year? No need to post an opening when we have a “chosen one” right here.

      1. Double dippers…gotta love them. As if receiving a pension with medical for life after a mere 25 years of service were not enough. That meter maid position should have gone to someone with a more urgent employment need. Better yet, why not eliminate parking enforcement as a career entirely

        1. All retired cops double dip! The retire after 25 plus years of service and they go back to work elsewhere after that! Would you retire for good at age 49? Better yet, if you eliminate parking enforcement? Who will write the 90% of the tickets the cops cant write? Parking would be a disaster in this town..get your facts straight before you comment!

            1. So youre saying a retired Police Officer, getting a Pension is NOT allowed to get another job?


    1. I agree, I walk by there everyday and see their trucks parked in the loading zone from morning until the evening. Or they park in the small “metered” lot across the street without feeding the meter. Why do they get preferential treatment and me as a TAX PAYER get ticketed!

  13. Another problem vehicle is the blue van that parks in an illegal spot on Nassau Street near the corner of University Place (in front of the nail salon and real estate office) almost every day. It clogs up an already-nasty intersection.

  14. Nothing new here. Recall when a Witherspoon Street landlord and bagel shop owner used to put his own traffic cones beside his truck while parking all day at an unpaid meter or in the No Parking zone on Spring Street. When I pointed this out to an officer, he said, “I didn’t see it.”
    As was said in Animal House, some Pigs are More Equal Than Others. Even in Princeton.

  15. for all of you who are writing in to report on the ongoing abuses by business who are allowed to clog our streets all day with their vans and trucks, I suggest you strike while the iron is hot. lt currier and sgt ricotello have been questioning concerned residents and investigating the problems. they have requested that those already interviewed provide them with other concerned citizens that they may interview. this has been opened up and is currently being investigated due to the efforts of a few persistant residents and planet Princeton. we have an opportunity now to keep the momentum going. if we don’t, this will all become a distant memory. we will have only ourselves to blame for missing an opportunity for change..

    1. perhaps they shouldnt be investigated any one as Im sure they have had their Perks too either from an establishment OR getting a family member or good friend a free parking space or a ticket
      overlooked”..start at the top!

  16. Version:1.0

    This comes as no surprise to me. Early last year, sometime around Spring, I had an
    unfortunate encounter with the younger of the two meter-men. I believe his name is John Hughes.

    I was parking my girlfriend’s car in a spot on Nassau street
    when I accidentally tapped the minivan in the spot behind mine. Initially, I didn’t feel this and
    finished parking. I looked out my window to see John Hughes who informed me of
    the bump. I apologized profusely,
    including explaining that I hadn’t parallel parked the car before. The owner of the minivan was sitting in
    it and I asked how he would like to handle the situation but he waived us both
    off as if it was no big deal.

    Mr. Hughes, however, wasn’t satisfied. He repeatedly asked me “what was wrong
    with me”. I insistently responded
    that it was my fault and I was sorry but this seemed to do nothing but fuel his

    Finally, after literally 2 minutes of his ranting at me, I asked him what I
    should do. Of course, he had no
    constructive answer. He continued
    to rant on my inability to park.

    I got out of my car and began to walk to my

    Unfortunately, he continued to follow and berate me. I asked him if he had ever accidentally
    bumped a car while parking. This
    is when he said “well, why don’t I leave a ticket on your car?”

    I couldn’t believe it.
    Again, in what probably wasn’t the smartest move, I said “Go ahead! I
    can afford it.” This isn’t true –
    I am a broke student, but I didn’t want this maniac to feel like he had any
    power over me.

    I came back to the car 20 minutes later and had a ticket for
    some infraction I had never heard of.
    I looked it up online and of course it was completely unrelated to what occurred;
    he simply wanted to give me a ticket because he didn’t like me.

    Glad he’s finally getting his

      1. As somebody who drives around with a dinged front hood because somebody backed into my 6-month-old car while attempting to park (and then went on his/her way without leaving a note, of course), I have to recommend that Max Shaul learns how to drive properly before getting back into his girlfriend’s car. If you’re not sure whether you’re going to hit the car behind you, have somebody in the street wave for you. And if you can’t do that, find somewhere else to park.

        That said, Max should also file a report against that parking attendant, and contest the ticket.

        1. completely agree with all that you said – It was completely my fault and I should have been more careful and had her direct me since I was unfamiliar with the car.
          However, I admitted all of this to the parking officer and he continued to berate me.

          I tried to contest the ticket and file a report but to no avail – my word against his

          1. Max~~issues? learn how to park and had you reported this untrue incident (as if it was true, you would have reported it and it would be taken seriously)~you would have results, seems like youre hot headed yourself~~~

            1. Mustang- that is an illogical conclusion that you came to: if it were true you would have reported it and it would be taken seriously. Interesting. There’s many people that report unfair actions and behaviors and they are not taken seriously.

            2. Sir,

              I am using my real first name and last name and I assure you it is without a doubt true. I don’t know why I came across as hot headed – I really am admitting I made a mistake and both tapped the car and shouldn’t have done so. I even offered to settle it through insurance or payment with the other driver, but there was no damage. What was done was done and the officer still wouldn’t relax.

              I called to ask about the reporting process but was given a very candid response that including that it was highly unlikely I would be successful in my challenge. I have a busy life and just paid the ticket instead of letting the incident further interfere with my life.

              Learn how to park is a little harsh – I am sure everyone has accidentally tapped a car from time to time and thats what happened here

            3. That’s a bit rough. I definitely didn’t want to start a pile-on on Max Shaul. For what it’s worth, I believe his story 100%. I think he’s given an honest account, and I think it is extremely relevant to the discussion. If it’s possible- or if he could even be bothered at this stage- I would go back and contest the ticket again. The parking attendant’s word isn’t worth much if he was picking and choosing who to give tickets to, as Planet Princeton’s reporting would seem to indicate.

              1. Please keep in mind that Planet Princeton has been known to find UN- truth in their or her reportings in this and many other topics they/her have written~~~this isnt the first one! I believe the parking attendants are just as fair as the cops are~~as they write 90 percent of the parking tickets for this town and thats where the revenue comes from~the Cops write 10 percent~~I see no complaints from the Higher Up they havent written enough tickets have you?

                1. Mustang, if you are going to accuse PP of finding “untruth in their or her reportings” you should have proof to back that position. It’s also nice to believe something, it doesn’t make it true.

                  1. Suzanne~~~Start with the top brass and work your way down if you are after these guys~~they are just being used as “ScapeGoats” why isnt PP checking into all of them past and present?

          2. I observe that SFB may be supporting anger issues and blantly sides againts residents. They seem to have superior knowlege about our IP address. Perhaps they are just here to stir up things

        2. Putting a ding in a door while parrell parking is really poor driving. When I had bumped a ‘Bumper’ with my ‘bumper’, my agitated ‘victum’ called the police and I sat and waited. The officer took the report and I asked what happens now. The office told me I could go. The ‘victum’ got agitated and said something needds to be done. The officer explained that the cars came into ‘contact’ but failing to have made any damage there is no infraction to pursue. People don;t need to me punished for errors that provide no loss. according the the officer.

  17. I read today that the police have been investigating this issue since JULY, but the suspensions only came after the publication of the PP story. Between this and your coverage of the crony Kiosk issue, I would give you a Pulitzer, PP! Thank you!

  18. Have you seen how those two ‘dopes’ are driving their little vehicles? They don’t obey the traffic rules at all: they drive in one way street in opposite direction, they do illegal U turns, a STOP sign is ‘optional’ etc…it is just question of day when they are going to hit someone. I am glad they are suspended because they bring nothing but danger to Princeton residents and visitors.

    They should be charged for careless driving as well.

    1. Issues Grey Toyota? Personally I have talked with these “Dopes” as well as the woman “Dope” and several prior to her! Do you realize they also help when the PD needs them? They get sometimes several calls a day to come to a parking issue across the other side of town while they are on their regular Route! About 5 years ago they helped me with a flat tire as I was pulling out of my spot and directed me to a safe area to change it! Ive seen these dopes come out of their vehicle and actually help direct traffic prior to the Cops arriving to an accident! I have seen them unlock cars and help elderly cross the street, they also work overtime on Communiversity Day and direct Traffic as the PD is overwhelmed when thousands of people come into town..I could go on and on and on~~ perhaps you recieved a ticket from one of them~~perhaps you deserved it~~thats why you must be so angry!

      1. Sure, I don’t doubt that they have been helpful at times. However, that does not negate that fact that they have been involved abusing their power.

        1. they?? how about the whole Pd and every Pd in this country?? Dont all cops get free coffee and doughnuts!!?

      2. this has really gotten off topic. even thieves can be kind to elderly ladies crossing the street. but these 2 guys exploited the Princeton community by using their position to barter public parking to employees of local businesses in exchange for goods and services. that has already been well established. what we don’t know is the scope of police involvement or for that matter why the town administration was fiddling while these guys were being fed by triumph brewery, d’angelos, and olives and getting haircuts at mikes barber shop. the focus needs to be on establishing culpability and making change in the way Princeton is governed. it important to note that even as we are witness to scandal and corruption in this town, the town administration is opting to do away with publishing minutes of their meetings. hows that for hubris.
        if you are going to fight about something, fight against corrupt government, not how to parallel park.

        1. Kali~~Off Topic? The Topic is attacking the parking attendants for bartering? How about the whole PD? I see them all over town in Olives, DAngelos, shops in the square, Starbucks you name it getting something for half price or for “free”~~lets go after them too! Oh and lets not forget the Top Brass at local pizza joints every friday night? Oh yeah and a Judge getting a ticket
          dismissed because hes a “Judge”!

          1. how about watch the parking attendants they work spring street thier wonderful i park there all the time the enforcement guys do have a issue

        2. notice none of this came to mind until the two towns “Merged” all Police are guilty of some kind of barter either for their familys wives ect or themselves! Duh!

      3. Just becuase someone dose ther ejob sometimes, dosn;t make them above the law. When a meter maids assists a duly sworn police officer, the meter maid is playing ‘cop wanna be’. Or in the case of the retired officer ,over stepping his authority .

  19. Krystal, you are hotter then ever! I mean in your journalism exposing this silly police department, and you are also easy on the eyes. Keep on working it.

    1. Cute brainy and fearless = hot hot hot. Is she single and if so WHY? Someone needs to get the scoop on that.

  20. I am a former resident of princeton my family has been in princeton since the 1860s , you have destroyed the wonderful town i knew growing up with all your unfounded jealousy stupidity conspiracy crazy driven culture liberal insane mentality this is a way of life in this town for 100 years

  21. heres your list olives paneras cuban smoke joint star bucks massimos victors winberries triumph coxs hoagie haven wonder what they know now seems to me if the enforcers told the owners i do this you do that is that not extortion on the ticket enforcers part if not then if the owners offered is that not bribery just curious

    1. wouldn’ you want to know~~are you talking about the P Dept too~~top brass??? As I have seen them in all those places over many many years Humm you forgot Chucks, Abel Bagel, Kiosk~~and so on and so forth..dont you think these Merchants cut most “Town” workers a break in one way or another?? Its up to the “Stores” to cut people whomever they are and wherever they work “breaks” ,discounts and ad on “free food” to an order?How about the Relators/Cleanters ect? I see that as a booming town like Princeton taking care of each other! Its the Residents we all should be more concerned~about ~its NOT right to live on “Humbert’ or where ever and not have a driveway and get ticketed period!! They need the breaks with a permit or something~~lets think about them too though I know many a towns person getting ” a break/discount in some of these places? Everyone should be punished or no one! These to Meter guys are no differnt than the rest and work hard to make this town a booming community that it is!!!NOTHINGS for FREE!~~~

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