I have been living in downtown Sacramento for quite a while now. I, as many others have been working here steadily for about a decade or more. I have maneuvered the parking system for years just fine with no problems. Well, the city is starting to outmaneuver me. I have talked to outsiders about the current parking situation and they often say, “Just be really careful” or “Why don’t you park at X location and bike in?” I don’t know, maybe because I don’t want to ride my bike to my car in the morning before I have to drive to work! People who don’t live in the downtown or midtown area don’t understand the intricacies of parking here. If you do one little mistake you get a ticket. You back into a spot wrong, you get a ticket. Your tire sticks out too much, you get a ticket. You park on the wrong side of the street on the wrong day, you get a ticket. The list goes on and on and on.
You can get a ticket every day for parking downtown without proper registration tags. What if you are waiting for your registration tags in the mail? You could get a 50 dollar ticket every day for 2 weeks until those tags come, theoretically. That would cost you 700 dollars. If you don’t pay your ticket on time, it doubles and more “fees” are added. 50 dollar tickets turn to 150 dollar tickets in about two months. So, if that 700 dollars tripled you would end up paying 2100 dollars, just for waiting for your registration to come in the mail! Outrageous, I say!
If giving out parking tickets was my business and I was the owner, sure I would run the business as the city is. They are making dump trucks of money, but the city needs to be responsible and look at what is really happening. Amongst a group of Sacramento folks I have surveyed I heard a couple say they may be moving out of downtown / midtown because they simply can’t handle the ticket expenses. The cut throat tactics of parking enforcement officers is also having the effect of driving away business from local stores. More and more suburban folks are not coming downtown because the word is getting out that if you go downtown to shop, you may get a ticket for something you didn’t know was illegal.
In these cash strapped times cities all across the US are moving to ramp up their parking ticket revenues, but we must really question is this the right way to fix our budget? Lets be honest, this is just a different type of tax being implemented. It is fundamentally dishonest to disguise it as something else, and everyone involved in the scheme knows that.
So great job Kevin Johnson, or whoever implements these policies, all you are doing is driving away locals and helping to kill even more businesses downtown. Keep up the good work champs.