Elm City residents and visitors alike will soon be fined $25, rather than the customary $20, if they violate New Haven’s parking regulations.
The higher fee, announced during an April 9 Finance Committee workshop by the Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking, will apply to Group 1 parking tickets, which cover transgressions like passing the allotted time limit on a meter, feeding a meter for more than the schedule time and not paying a meter at all. By raising the fine, City Hall expects to increase its annual revenue by between $300,000 and $400,000. The changes would be reflected in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which must be approved by the Board of Alders by the first week of June.
After studying surrounding coastal towns, Doug Hausladen ’04, director of Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking, noted the current ticket price was one of the lowest in the area. He added that paying for all-day parking as opposed to receiving a ticket for not doing so saves a driver only 50 cents.
“It’s not a steep increase,” Hausladen said. “A steep increase would be doubling or tripling the fine amount. This added merely $5 to an already low fine whose purpose is to dissuade someone from parking all day long or not paying the parking.”
Within the last fiscal year, the department issued 139,730 tickets and collected roughly $5 million in parking ticket revenue. Of that total, approximately 100,000 were Group 1 parking ticket transgressions.
This change is just one of many in past years, Hausladen said, who hopes residents and visitors will comply with the parking regulations given the increase. He acknowledged the high demand for downtown on-street parking and his department’s response in implementing multiple payment options.
“So we’ve been doing a lot in the last few years,” Hausladen added. “We have over four types of payment that are accepted. We accept coin, credit card, street pay-by-cell apps, as well as vouchers. And we also now have daytime validation for on-street parking.”
The additional funds generated through the increased parking violation fee will pay for essential city services such as education and school funding, as well as police and fire department overtime.
Ward 1 Alder Haci Catalbasoglu ’19, who supports the fine increase, noted the potential environmental benefits of the new fee structure.
“I honestly think that a $5 increase on a parking ticket is a good thing,” Catalbasoglu said. “I’m supportive because this hike will incentivize people to not use their cars as much and maybe even incentivize them to use their bikes and become more environmentally friendly — help get cars off the road, help decongest traffic, help reduce air pollution, noise pollution.”
As the increase in parking ticket fees will apply to New Haven residents and visitors alike, local business owners may or may not be affected. Hausladen said he believes the change will benefit Elm City businesses, as compliance with the new policies will open up more parking spaces to visitors.
Kathy Riegelmann, owner of Katalina’s Bakery, said she is unsure whether the fine increase will help businesses and access to nearby parking but still prefers the measure to other potential revenue-generating policies.
“People have a hard time coming into New Haven anyway because of the parking situation, and if they’re going to increase the parking ticket, I’m sure that will definitely deter people,” Riegelmann said. “I think New Haven is taxed beyond your wildest imagination, so if they’re really hurting for money and that’s what they need to do, then I would rather have that than a tax increase.”
About 50 percent of parking tickets are paid within two weeks, according to Hausladen.
Gaby Mencio | firstname.lastname@example.org