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Ready to pay more for those parking tickets?

Since PARKatlanta began issuing tickets almost 31 months ago, more than 150,000 unpaid tickets have run up a total of $7.4 million.

Get ready to pay more for those parking tickets, Midtown. That is if legislation proposed by Atlanta City Councilman Lamar Willis is approved. 

The councilman, who is elected citywide, wants to raise the initial fine for an overstayed meter by $10 to $35. If the ticket is not paid within 14 days, the fee would double to $70. And the penalty would increase to $95 if the ticket is not paid in full within 45 days of issuance.

The transportation committee of the council will hold a public hearing today, Wednesday, June 13, and will take public comments on the matter. The 1:30 p.m. meeting will take place at City Hall, located at 55 Trinity Avenue.  For more information, call 404-330-6215.

The proposed increase will apply to tickets issued for overtime parking at metered spaces and not to residential permit parking violators. Those will still be ticketed $25 and if it’s not paid within 14 days, the fine will jump to $50.

The changes could come up for vote by the council on Monday, June 18. They come after city officials considered last month extending parking enforcement hours at meters past midnight around the city. But a pushback from residents led to that proposal quietly dying.

All of the proposals are being considered in an effort to recoup approximately $4 million that the city will not receive as a result of an arbitrator’s ruling that PARKatlanta does not need to pay the city almost three-quarters of what it originally was contracted to pay. This came about after the city council last year restricted the Milwaukee-based company’s operations with a moratorium on reduced hours and new meters.

It was reported that the $4 million difference would be enough to afford 50 police officers.

Since PARKatlanta began issuing tickets almost 31 months ago, more than 150,000 unpaid tickets have run up a total of $7.4 million. The latest proposed increase in fines would not be applied retroactively.

City Councilman Kwanza Hall, whose district encompasses Midtown and parts of downtown, has been critical of the city’s contract with PARKatlanta. Last month, he suggested ending the contract with PARKatlanta, which would cost about $8 million for each year left on the contract. The contract would expire in about two-and-a-half years.

“You sometimes need to know when to cut and move on and get a better deal,” Hall said.

About half of PARKatlanta’s 2,500 meters are in Hall’s district and critics have complained that the organization’s enforcement has targeted the city’s entertainment and business centers, which Midtown is tops for in Atlanta.

So Midtown, are you ready to pay more for those parking tickets?

Tim Williams June 13, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Thank you clicker
Jesse Kuniansky-Altman June 13, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Here's what pisses me off about the parking tickets: There is literally no time buffer on the amount of time paid to the meter. Fair enough, but I also don't get back any money that I overpay for the time I'm parked. In order to get maximum value, you would literally have to leave the second it expired. Plus, god knows how many times I've pumped a meter full of money, when the car parked before me had already overpaid the for the same space. At least with the coin operated meters, you'd inherit the time from the person there before you. There has to be a better system, the way it's currently set up is a huge ripoff.
JustinK June 14, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Pay the valet or park in an hourly deck? I've lived in Midtown for 4+yrs and used the meters only a handful of times simply b/c they're more hassle than most decks. The point of the system is for you to buy over vs. under since it's still far more costly to underpay and get a ticket. Most of the meters are $2/hr and unless you're horrible at approximating your schedule, you can come in within 5-10 min. ParkAtlanta is an abomination but those meters are everywhere and the no-overlap thing has been a huge factor in why they went with them. That and they report directly to wireless devices making it easier to track expired meters. The idea is to keep traffic moving vs having a few residents/skinflints occupying all the parking forever. The contract as its written definitely goes too far toward enrichment of ParkAtlanta's parent company.
JustinK June 14, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Bribe the local leaders up front w/ a few million bucks, build a slick powerpoint deck extolling the virtues of a public/private partnership w/ unrealistic revenue numbers for the city, write some golden parachutes into the deal, and then anger the residents w/ super aggressive enforcement spelled out in the contract no one read.
Hunt Archbold June 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Councilman Kwanza Hall spoke out at Wednesday's hearing. From the AJC: “We need compassionate enforcement, based on the realities of Atlanta. There are too many broken pieces in this partnership." http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-committee-votes-to-1457530.html?cxtype=rss_news

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