Cheaper Parking

No matter what you do, don't park in a handicapped space. That'll run you $250.

But you can get away with parking in a driveway, an intersection, or a loading zone for just $5.

Selling men's suits on Monroe Street, Jim Schalow wants customers to spend money inside the store, not outside. He said, "I think $5 for being a couple minutes late is fine. If someone stays all day long, should have to pay a higher price."

Downtown merchants didn't like a city plan to triple parking tickets from $5 to $15.

The plan?

Harsher tickets for repeat offenders and an overall re-evaluation of fines.

Susan Stratton, a downtown merchant, said, "If you look at the back of a ticket--parking on a sidewalk is $5. Who parks on a sidewalk? It's against the rules. Fire hydrants are $5. Those are things we want to get boosted up.

Meanwhile, a hand full of officers like Melanie Alford keep tabs on downtown tickets. Problem is, these hand-held devices don't keep track of repeat offenders.

That job is left to chalk, not a computer.

City and businesses agree now's the time to take another look at parking. The city is working on a new ordinance that would address "all" parking fines. That should go before city commissioners in November.

There's currently a staggered system, the first is five, the second is ten, the third is 25. But again, it's up to parking enforcement officers to keep track, it's not automated.