Three months after installing new electronic parking meters and expanding parking opportunities downtown and in the medical district, city officials are putting in place a new process for enforcing regulations, and issuing tickets for violations that carry fines averaging about $21.
The cost for illegal parking can rise to as much as $246 for violators who don't pay timely.
All fines are due within 15 days of the date the parking ticket is issued. If violators do nothing, a judgment will be issued which is enforceable for up to 10 years.
"It is important for drivers, particularly those who work and frequent downtown, to be aware that if the ticket is not paid within 15 days, the cost could go up significantly," said Teresa Jones, Chief City Prosecutor.
"While everyone is entitled to their day in court, if a judge finds you guilty, fees and penalties may include: a $50 fine, $135 court cost, $1 state tax and $20-$40 in late fees. Also, your vehicle could be immobilized or impounded."
Late last year, the City installed 485 new single space battery-powered – solar charged parking meters and 135 kiosk for multiple spaces, expanding the number of parking spaces available downtown from about 1,210 metered spaces to more than 1,500 on-street parking spaces.
Parking fees and enforcement times remained the same at $1 per hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, Monday thru Friday. There is a minimum payment of 50 cents for the first 30 minutes.
The modern parking meters allow drivers to pay with a credit/debit card or coins only. The new meters do not make change or issue refunds. The new multi-space kiosks use "pay and display" technology. Users follow prompts on the terminal to purchase the amount of desired time up to a maximum of two hours, starting at 30 minutes. A receipt is printed for display on the parked vehicle's curbside dashboard.
The single space meters work just like the current meters, except they not only accept coins, but, now will also accept credit/debit cards. The new kiosks and meters are as easy to use as modern gas pumps or ATM's.
"This new technology allowed the City to add more parking spaces," Jones said. "The new meters are more customer- friendly and efficient and we've made it really easy for drivers to pay for parking. The meters provide citizens a printed receipt for proof of payment should they want to challenge a parking ticket."
Police officers ticket drivers for violations that include: overtime parking, parking in restricted zones, blocking fire lanes or plugs, blocking traffic, splitting meters, and parking in no parking, loading or handicapped zones.
Citizens who have questions about parking tickets can call the City Court Clerk at 901- 636-3450 or City Prosecutor at 901-636-3479.