Some Raleigh Leaders Question Downtown Parking Patrol
Posted August 3, 2006 7:48 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh's downtown parking patrol writes around 29 tickets every hour. Newly reopened Fayetteville Street isn't exempt -- some people got a ticket the first weekday the street was open.
This week marks one year that Park Raleigh has been handling parking enforcement downtown. The city chose to hire the contractor for a flat fee instead of a fee-per-ticket to try and prevent aggressive ticket writing. But some people don't think it's working.
For the first time in 30 years, Troy Page came downtown to Fayetteville Street. But the 72-year-old's trip down memory lane cost him. He got a parking ticket for parking more than 12 inches away from the curb.
"It was upsetting, and it put a damper on coming downtown and that's sad," said Page.
Raleigh City Council member Philip Isley saw the ticket being written. He said he believes the parking enforcement officer was overly aggressive.
"For some of these Mickey Mouse violations, as long as they are not impeding traffic, I don't know why anyone would get a ticket for coming downtown to park and go and eat at a restaurant, which is what Mr. Page had done," said Isley.
Critics say this is just the latest example of meter readers' over-zealousness. In the first ten months of the Park Raleigh contract, more than 61,000 tickets were written. That amounts to about 260 tickets every business day.
Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said strict enforcement is necessary to ensure turnover. He said he believes what's happening downtown is much more lenient than most cities.
However, Mayor Charles Meeker said he disagrees.
"Either we need to change that attitude or the city needs to take over enforcement itself," said Meeker.
Park Raleigh leaders said they are writing far fewer tickets than the previous contractor and are just following city code.
"We are not predatory, we don't have to be. We don't receive any compensations for writing citations as far as a quota is concerned," said Park Raleigh project manager Eugene Eggleston.
Park Raleigh also said that it hasn't been aggressive on the new Fayetteville Street at all. Eggleston said a total of 22 tickets were written on the street on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The parking issue is expected to come up before the City Council on Tuesday.