February 18, 2009

Parking fines may rise; crackdown on handicapped parking violations looms

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 scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

"...bring the revenue to city coffers instead of the state treasury getting the money."

So it's not really about enforcement or changing public behavior, it's about collecting revenue for the City.

Taxation without representation!

Anonymous said...

The LT is wrong on this one and I can not understand his logic. These officers are getting paid to do a job and he feels that by changing the fine offers will write more tickets because it is easier for them??? I have an idea that would save a ton of money paying attorney's to write a town ordance and waste everybody's time. Give these guys a direct order to write more tickets. You don't charge for orders do you? If I were the mayor I would want to see numbers. Did the number of tickets given for violation of a space increase or stay the same. I bet that they stay the same.

Anonymous said...

"Give these guys a direct order to write more tickets."

That would be an illegal order as there is a state statute that prohibits quotas.

Anonymous said...

Write more tickets. Enforce the law against driving one-handed while holding a cell phone to your ear. Stop all those people who jump to turn left in front of you when the light turns green.

AND raise the parking fines.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Art.

For nothing!

Tim Gamache said...

First I must admit I am not aware of the difference between handing out a ticket and issuing an infraction.Anyone know the difference?Second,I would be pleased if the Dept. simply enforced the law.We should levy as heavy a fine on these violators as possible.They weren't showing any consideration to those who have true handicaps.Third,I couldn't agree more in relation to enforcing the no hand held cell phones while driving law.Haven't seen one of these violators yet who actually CAN "multitask."Ergo, none of them are devoting the total attention the road demands.

Odin said...

"Taxation without representation!"? If I were you I wouldn't go around admitting I was too lazy to vote last November.

liquid pudding said...

wish that we could impose fines for stupidity because based on these postings, we wouldn't have to worry about balancing the budget, we would have one hell of a surplus. woe are we.

whine, whine, whine said...

man, you boobie bloggers really dig deep to come up with ways to say anything negative - are you the jerks who are too lazy to walk a short distance and park in these handicapped spots, are you the thoughtless pukes who drive a car with a Handicapped sticker that belongs to another family member etc.?
The difference between a ticket and an infraction is that the state gets the monies from an infraction while the city keeps the monies from a ticket - still hard to figure out? take the pacifier out of your mouth before you choke fool.

Tim Gamache said...

7:01 AM: If you read my post closely you should have ascertained that we are in agreement on this issue.Being unafraid to admit I may not understand a particular issue doesn't call for my being called a fool.Once AGAIN I'll note that I sign my real name to my remarks.

Craig Minor said...

Please indulge me in a complaint about the headline which I know you didn't write. "City Makes Ticketing Handicap Violators Easier" is not true. The Police Commissioners might like to make it easier, but it's not up to them. As you correctly say in the story, only the City Council can do this. Please ask your editors to pay more attention to the facts when composing attention-grabbing headlines.

Anonymous said...

hush minor!

Anonymous said...

An untrue headline in the Bristol Press? Ah, now I remember why I canceled my subscription.

Anonymous said...

The fines are ridiculously low. They should raise all of them. I understand the logic on lowering the handicapped fine in order to keep the $ in the city but increase the other ones at the same time.