Illegal parkers will face heftier ticket fines
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY ó Parking illegally in Salisbury just got more expensive.
To keep downtown merchants and employees from using two-hour spaces intended for shoppers, City Council on Tuesday approved a late fee for parking tickets and a repeat violator ordinance.
The cost of a ticket ó $5 ó remains the same. But after 30 days, the city will tack on a $20 late fee.
If someone racks up four tickets in a month, the fourth one jumps from $5 to $50.
ěWe have lots of parking downtown, but itís abused by downtown merchants,î said Glenda Dyson, owner of Just the Thing. ěWe want our customers to have those spaces.î
Officials say about 25 people who work downtown and regularly park all day in two-hour spots cost downtown retailers $1.6 million annually in lost sales.
About 30 business owners attended a meeting last week and expressed support for tougher parking penalties, said Randy Hemann, executive director for Downtown Salisbury Inc.
If shoppers from out of town receive a parking ticket and alert a merchant, Downtown Salisbury often will pay the ticket for them, City Planner Joe Morris said.
Study after study has shown sufficient free, all-day parking for people who work downtown, City Engineer Dan Mikkelson said. And most shoppers donít exceed the two-hour limit, he said.
New directional signs going up this summer will direct people to parking lots. The city rarely enforces the two-hour time limit on weekends.
Salisbury generously offers free parking, while many cities donít, Mayor Susan Kluttz said.
Councilman Brian Miller spoke in favor of stiffer penalties, saying itís become cheaper for people to pay the occasional $5 ticket than lease a parking spot for $20 a month.
ěThis is geared at folks who are abusing the system,î Miller said.
Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell asked Downtown Salisbury to give an update in six months, and Councilman Paul Woodson said heís delighted with the new ordinances.
ěWeíve been talking about this for 14 years,î he said.
The new rules begin today.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.