It’s about to happen, but Carbondale’s mayor said the city hasn’t changed its policy on parking fines in more than 20 years.
At Mayor Joel Fritzler’s request, the council may also reduce the required time for parking fee payment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“This is a request I made 16 years ago as the Main Street Director,” Fritzler said in an email. “Although parking meters are necessary during the middle of the day, we want to encourage people to come downtown after work, in the evenings and on the weekends rather than nickel-and-diming them to death.”
As for fine rates, the Parking Division stated it won’t know exact costs until the council reaches its decision Tuesday, as the changes were proposed by City Manager Kevin Baity only last week.
“We’re pushing out the agenda this Friday to give people a better idea of what kind of changes will be made,” he said. “In the meantime, the council will be making changes and reaching agreements.”
Carbondale’s population is nearly the same as the amount of students at SIU. A 2010 census lists more than 25,000 residents within the city, and enrollment numbers released Tuesday show 18,847 students on campus this fall.
For those who don’t purchase parking stickers through the university, city parking becomes their next best option.
Todd Sigler, director of the SIU Department of Public Safety, told the Daily Egyptian Thursday that the issue with parking on campus is convenience.
“On a tight college budget, decals can be expensive, and while parking spots are available, the prime spots are filled fast,” he said.
Fritzler said the fines for illegal and overtime city parking will hardly match the cost of the ticket itself.
An overtime parking ticket is $3 if paid at City Hall within two days, $7 after three days and $12 after 13 days. With an illegal parking ticket starting at $7, Fritzler said Carbondale is a cheap place to illegally park.
He said students often use city parking and walk farther to class, including near Carbondale’s Town Square.
The city provides parking for just about everyone including senior citizens, people with temporary disabilities and those wanting year-round or month-long permits. There are 1,100 parking spaces downtown, and parking meters are enforced from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.