According to the Shorewood Police Department, I made an illegal u-turn this morning on the way to conduct an interview for an upcoming article on OnMilwaukee.com. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but if I'm unsuccessful in fighting the ticket, I'll owe Shorewood $83.80 and lose three points on my license.
I actually saw the police car in front of me as I headed east on Capitol Drive, preparing to meet my interview subject at City Market. But when I saw that construction trucks were blocking Maryland Avenue, the street on which I planned to turn left to find parking, I slowed down, put my turn signal on and made a u-turn into a parking spot in front of the cafe. The whole maneuver took about 10 seconds.
Sure enough, Officer L. Pfeil pulled up behind me and told me that I couldn't make a u-turn, that such turns aren't allowed in business districts. However, there was no sign telling me that, nor did I make the turn at a light. Afterwards, I noticed that "no u-turn" signs are present around the corner and facing the other way on Capitol, but not in the direction I was heading. I didn't impede traffic, and considering the blocked street ahead of me, I'm still not sure what I did wrong.
Obviously, arguing with a police officer is never a good idea, so I waited the 10 minutes for Officer Pfeil to issue me a ticket for $83.80 and three points. He informed me of my right to contest the ticket in Shorewood on June 3, which I plan to do. But even though I have a great driving record, I know how these things tend to turn out: you plead guilty to a lesser violation, pay a bigger ticket, but avoid the points on your license.
Thing is, I don't think I broke any laws, and if I did, it was only because construction crews were blocking the intersection ahead, forcing me to make a slow, safe and deliberate detour from my expected route. I didn't slow anyone down, and I certainly didn't put anyone in danger with my well-executed, properly signaled u-turn directly into a parking space. It wasn't a great way to start the day, and it may go down as the most expensive interview I've ever conducted.
Talkbackers, tell me if I'm wrong. But I think I got a ticket for something that wasn't illegal, rather was a quick and convenient way for Shorewood to collect some easy money from an always responsible driver.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.