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Gainesville On Pace For Another Climb In Tickets

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Therese Igharas is not surprised by Gainesville’s surge in parking tickets.

Igharas, a Gainesville resident who works in the city’s downtown, said one time she found a ticket on her car after parking for five minutes to grab her paycheck.

“They’re always out there ticketing us,” she said.

Igharas received two tickets in 2015, a small portion of the total 17,402 parking citations the city issued for the year. The total equates to a 47 percent increase from 2014. The result: $835,715 of revenue for Gainesville.

With 2,556 parking citations issued in the first seven weeks of 2016, another increase in the number of tickets issued is likely for this year, according to information collected by Gainesville’s Public Works Department.

According to the department, from 2010 to 2013, parking tickets were on the decline, with the upward trend in parking tickets beginning in 2014.

Gainesville public works spokesman Chip Skinner said there isn’t a way to know the exact reason for the rise in tickets, but an increase in construction in some areas may have led to people parking illegally.

“We have a number of metered spaces” people can get a ticket in, he said. “Some can be fined for parking in a handicapped space as well as different parking zones that we have throughout the city. Some apartment complexes have on-street parking, and the city has different decals that can be purchased.

“If you don’t have a decal, then you can, of course, be ticketed.”

The money collected from the citations flows back into the city’s general fund, Skinner said. The revenue from parking citations makes up less than 1 percent of the proposed general fund, and general-fund dollars go back into the community. 

“That money can be used for anything from resurfacing roadways to purchasing equipment for our parks and recreation facilities,” Skinner said.

About Leah Shields

Leah is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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2 comments

  1. There is no mystery about why Gainesville’s parking ticket revenues are rising. It has nothing to do with ongoing construction. It is because of their zero tolerance policy for parking at the “free” two-hour spaces downtown. I recently got a ticket for being 3 minutes over in one of these spaces. I had gotten one in the past for being 6 minutes over, so I was really making an effort to get back to my car on time, but apparently my watch was not perfectly synchronized with that of the parking attendant.
    People in my office have reported getting tickets for being as little as 1 minute over in a 2-hour space. At the city’s Southwest Parking Garage, a large sign indicates that there is a 15 minute grace period between the time you pay and the time you have to leave. Why isn’t there a similar grace period for free on-street parking? What timekeeping equipment does the Public Works parking enforcement staff use for determining whether a car is over-parked and how accurate is it? How is it calibrated and maintained?
    This is a ridiculous level of enforcement that is totally inconsistent with Gainesville’s professed desire to present a “friendlier” and “more welcoming” image. I can’t imagine that it benefits downtown businesses to have their customers getting $30 parking tickets for shopping or dining 3 minutes too long. Just as bad, what kind of message does it send to people who come downtown to attend a public meeting, report for jury duty, or visit a city or county government office? I spoke to a city employee after receiving my 3-minute citation and he indicated that the Gainesville Police Department does not have this same zero-tolerance policy in the parking areas that it patrols. Shame on the Public Works Department for preying on downtown drivers in this unreasonable way, and shame on the City Commission and City Manager for endorsing these draconian tactics.

  2. As someone who has driven a service vehicle plastered with company logos for over a decade; the enforcement in the neighborhood restriction areas are nothing short of maddening. Service vehicles wouldn’t be in those neighborhoods without the request of the property owners; and even with the availability of the service vehicle hang tags, there is 5 tag limit per business (at $21/each).

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