Hartford Parking Violations City has the right goal, but will have to be tougher on enforcement
The Hartford Courant
March 01, 2011
The Hartford Parking Authority will apparently enforce the city's on-street parking regulations more stringently to promote "turnover at the curb, which creates more parking opportunities for customers who support local businesses."
Writing tickets and collecting fines are indeed key to promoting turnover (although they don't make for happy visitors to the city). It's the collecting part that needs improvement in Hartford.
To reset the city's enforcement effort, the parking authority has announced an amnesty program good for all of the month of March.
Under the amnesty, those with unpaid parking tickets about 35,000 people in the past five years will be offered the chance to pay the original fine (usually $25) with no late fees or additional court costs. That could save the delinquent parking violator a good chunk of money and clear his or her conscience. Violators will be notified by mail and can pay their overdue tickets by mail or at the parking authority's offices on Market Street in downtown Hartford.
Taking advantage of amnesty will allow multiple offenders to avoid having their cars towed an expensive and terribly inconvenient penalty.
The goal of the city and the parking authority is to collect $200,000 through the amnesty program. That's peanuts compared with what's out there.
The parking authority says about 70 percent of the 90,000 tickets issued annually are paid. Still, over the past 15 years, a whopping 265,000 tickets totaling $18 million have gone unpaid. That's enough money to eliminate the city's projected budget deficit.
The city and the parking authority intend to go after that hidden treasure. They've promised that following the amnesty program, they will "commence a concentrated effort to collect the remaining outstanding parking citations." That must mean extra penalties will be charged and there apparently will be tow trucks patrolling the streets.
Drivers probably shouldn't think the city will be as lax as in the past when it comes to parking violation enforcement. It would be wiser to take advantage of the amnesty and, going forward, pay up.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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