On Saturday, June 30, Kingston parking enforcement officers fanned out through the city’s business district issuing warnings reminding people that metered parking remains in effect Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The faux ticket-blitz alarmed Uptown residents and merchants long accustomed to de facto free parking on weekends. But city officials say there are no plans to add staff or hours to enact full-time weekend enforcement.
Instead of tickets, parking enforcement staff placed orange fliers entitled “Parking Payment Options Reminder” on vehicles parked at expired meters or who had not paid for parking in municipal lots. “You are receiving this note as a courtesy because we noticed that you did not pay for your parking,” the flier read. “This is not a ticket. However you are at risk of being issued a parking violation and fine.” The flier goes on to list parking rules and payment options.
Paid parking on Saturdays had been on the books since the city instituted metered streetside parking a decade ago, but parking enforcement officers are only on duty Monday through Friday. Mayor Steve Noble said that the warning tickets were intended to boost compliance with the law.
“We want to make sure we get revenue from everybody and that includes weekenders and visitors,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “And if we don’t ever enforce on Saturdays we’re kind of missing that entire population.”
In an emailed reply to questions about Saturday enforcement, City Hall spokeswoman Megan Weiss-Rowe said the warning fliers had been distributed by parking enforcement staff working overtime. Rowe added that there were no current plans to add staff or hours to carry out routine Saturday enforcement.
“The city is currently working to educate users on the parking rules and options, but may issue parking violations in the future.” Weiss-Rowe wrote.
Since ending free parking in municipal lots in January, the city has collected $204,000 in parking fees and fines. The 2018 budget calls for a total of $410,000 in total parking revenue for the year. Weiss-Rowe added that revenue generated by the municipal lots had exceeded goals. As a result, a proposed “participatory budgeting” initiative would receive increased funding. The plan calls for $10,000 in revenue collected from the municipal lots to be spent on beautification and improvements in each of the city’s three business districts in consultation with local residents and property owners. Due to the surplus, Weiss-Rowe said, that allocation would be boosted to $15,000 for each district.