The city plans to slash the cost of parking in a handicapped spot sharply in hopes of making it easier to slap people with fines.
The problem with the existing $150 infraction is that officers can’t just leave a ticket on the car and some may be reluctant to sock violators for so much, police officials said.
By cracking the whip more often on the parking scofflaws, police said, they hope to make it less likely people will use the spaces illegally.
Capt. Daniel McIntyre said that making it possible to hand out a ticket instead of issuing an infraction would bring the revenue to city coffers instead of the state treasury getting the money.
Police commissioners backed a move to lower the fine to $90 and make it a part of the normal parking ticket book that officers use.
The change can’t be made until the City Council and its Ordinance Committee endorses it.
The police panel also aims to increase other parking tickets by $10, which would double the fine for violating everything from the winter parking ban to parking on a sidewalk to $20.
Mayor Art Ward said he is particularly keen to see a crackdown on those who break the handicapped parking laws.
He said many people complain that they see non-handicapped people park in the designated spots close to store entrances, leaving those who genuinely need the spaces unable to park.
Ward said he would like to see the fine for the violation as high as possible.
But McIntyre said that lowering the fine will actually make it much more likely that officers will hand out tickets when they see an abuse of handicapped parking laws.
That should, he said, do more to prevent the abuse than hiking the fines would do.
“Several area police departments use this option with great success,” McIntyre said in a Feb. 9 memorandum to Police Chief John DiVenere.
Moreover, he wrote, “I believe enforcement would increase for this important violation” because writing a ticket is less time-consuming and difficult for officers.
Sample of current fines
All Night Parking - $10
Over 12 inches from curb - $10
Wrong side of street - $10
Parking in bus stop - $15
Double parking - $15
Blocking driveway - $15
Parking during snow emergency - $25
Within 10 feet of hydrant - $25
Tow zone violation - $50
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org