Michael Ricci was incredulous when a policeman slapped his son with a $1,000 parking ticket for illegal parking in front of the family home.

"I flipped," Ricci, a retired policeman himself, said recently.But neither he nor others ticketed under a new ordinance are getting sympathy from officials in this suburban Philadelphia township, where an ordinance passed Sept. 13 specifies the fine - and court costs of $23 - in an effort to keep narrow cul-de-sacs clear for emergency vehicles.

"If a fire engine cannot get in there because of the way cars are parked, there is a danger to the lives of the people," said township Solicitor Thomas Del Ricci. "When you consider the value of human life, I don't think $1,000 is unreasonable."

Ricci's 25-year-old son, Ken, was tightening battery cables under the hood when an officer approached him Nov. 22. Moments later, he was showing his father the citation.

The elder Ricci, who retired to Horsham from Philadelphia "because I wanted peace and tranquility," has company in his disbelief.

"We were astounded," said Tom Cowgill, an insurance agent who was ticketed that same night when he and his wife, Betty, were visiting their grandchildren."I thought it was ridiculous, but talk to my wife and you'll hear a different story. They were scraping her off the wall."

At least 11 car owners have received thousand-dollar tickets so far.