Currently, parking enforcement officers, like Lori Garrett pictured above, have to input license plate numbers manually into a handheld device to check if vehicles are overstaying the posted time limit. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Currently, parking enforcement officers, like Lori Garrett pictured above, have to input license plate numbers manually into a handheld device to check if vehicles are overstaying the posted time limit. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Drivers beware: Everett parking tickets are about to double

The city wants to reduce the number of vehicles overstaying the time allowed at downtown spaces.

EVERETT — Leaving a car parked on an Everett street for too long is now going to cost drivers double.

In November, the penalty for overstaying the time allowed at an on-street parking spot will rise to $40. Other fines, excluding violations for parking in a handicapped space or fire lane, will also increase to $40.

The city hopes this move, combined with new parking enforcement software, will cut down on violations.

A 2015 parking study found more than 14 percent of vehicles downtown remained past the posted time limit. The report concluded downtown employees were likely using about 40 percent of the roughly 2,000 on-street stalls.

These spaces should be prioritized for use by customers, said Kari Goepfert, a city spokesperson.

“If downtown employees parked on-street in front of their places of employment all day, there would be very limited parking available for customers visiting downtown establishments,” she said in an email.

Parking fines, which were last changed in 2009, “are out-of-date and have lost some of their preventive value,” according to city documents.

The increase in parking fines was one of the suggestions brought forward by staff and residents to help bridge the city’s budget deficit, Goepfert said.

The city has set time caps that range generally from 30 to 90 minutes downtown. In the neighborhoods, vehicles without a permit are restricted to one to two hours in certain areas.

Parking enforcement officer Lori Garrett monitors vehicles parked downtown. The city hopes that increasing parking fines and moving to new enforcement software will reduce the number of vehicles staying past the time allowed. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Parking enforcement officer Lori Garrett monitors vehicles parked downtown. The city hopes that increasing parking fines and moving to new enforcement software will reduce the number of vehicles staying past the time allowed. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Downtown, vehicles are not allowed to re-park on the same block once the time has run out.

In the business core, re-parking is not permitted unless folks are there to frequent the shops or services in that area.

The enforcement in the business core is intended to cut down on employees moving their cars to evade time limits, Goepfert said.

Councilmembers approved the twofold increase on some parking fines in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

The city expects to roll out the new parking management software early next year.

The new system, which will use a smart device with license plate recognition, will make it much easier and quicker to identify vehicles overstaying the time allowed, Goepfert said.

The software also will let the city begin accepting payment of parking tickets online. This change is expected to reduce the workload for the city clerk’s office and Everett Municipal Court.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

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