Collaboration in Civic Spheres

City of Kent: Amendments to Parking Restrictions

by Andrew Hart October 7th, 2010

OVERVIEW: Paid public parking is a scarce commodity and as a result, parking time limits and other parking regulations are usually strictly enforced by cities. On June 15th of this year the city council of Kent, Washington increased the penalty assessed for two-hour parking violations from approximately $20 to $50. But the Kent Police Department has voiced concerns that the larger penalty hurts downtown businesses, already struggling in the current economy. After further consideration, on September 21, 2010 the Kent City Council passed an ordinance rolling back two-hour parking violations from $50 to $30. However, in order to continue covering the cost of issuing tickets as necessary, the city council also authorized increasing fines from $20 to $50 for a variety of other parking offenses.

KEY DOCUMENT: Parking Restrictions Amendments, Ordinance. Kent City Council Agenda. September 21, 2010. (Pdf file of full meeting agenda packet; in directory on left, click on “Parking Restrictions Amendments, Ordinance” for instant access).

KEY FINDINGS:

  • The Police Department and Public Safety Commission have recommended lowering the penalty for two-hour parking violations from the current $50 to $30. But to offset revenues lost from reducing the two-hour parking penalty, the Police Department has advocated new parking restrictions and monetary penalties.
  • By incorporating certain parts of state law (RCWs 46.61.570 and 46.61.575) into the Kent City Code, the City will now charge $50, rather than $20, as previously, for: parking RVs, boats, and trailers on City streets for more than twenty-four hours; parking in multiple stalls; parking in a bicycle lane; performing repairs on a vehicle while parked on city streets; advertising a vehicle while parked on a City street; parking too close to a stop sign, crosswalk or fire hydrant, etc; and chain parking, or moving a car from time-limited street parking spot to another spot on the same side of the street in the same block.
  • The City Finance Department has determined that the cost of issuing a parking ticket is approximately $54.63. By enforcing the new higher fines, the City “recoups more of its actual costs incurred in enforcing” parking violations.

The ordinance passed on September 21, 2010 by unanimous vote by the Kent City Council. The ordinance is to take effect within 30 days of passage.

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