Anyone who has received a parking ticket in Tucson knows there’s a steep price to pay for parking too close to a fire hydrant or letting the meter expire.
Tucson tickets are among the highest in the state when compared to some of Arizona’s other big cities.
But some relief might be on the way for those who’ve gasped when they found a $188 citation lodged into their windshield wiper because they parked within five feet of a driveway.
Parkwise officials are studying the idea of lowering fines for parking tickets, mostly because of a request from Councilman Paul Cunningham.
Officials are examining a specific proposal that would remove city and state fees from a ticket for the first 30 days after a citation is issued. The fees would be added if the ticket wasn’t paid within those 30 days.
That would equal a reduction of about $36.
Officials are still ironing out the details and how it would affect staffing levels, as well as court processing, but they hope to present a more developed plan to the City Council in September.
“We will continue to vet the process out and will come back in September with a more definitive plan” said Carlos de Leon, deputy director for the Tucson Department of Transportation.
So how bad are Tucson parking tickets?
If you park within 15-feet of a fire hydrant in Tucson, it will cost you $188, according to numbers compiled by the city.
In Phoenix, it costs $86.
In Scottsdale, it’s about $40.
Tucson also has the highest tickets for parking in handicap spots and freight zones, too close to a fire hydrant or driveway and parking in a residential area without a permit, when compared to other Arizona big cities.
Cunningham received some complaints from constituents and acquaintances, including one person who was from out of town.
He hasn’t received a ticket recently, so it’s not personal, he said.
He claims the expensive tickets are actually cost prohibitive to the city when one considers labor, time and resources needed to hold trial, collect money, arrange payment plans.
It would be cheaper for both the violator and the city if someone decided to just pay the fine immediately instead of fighting it.
“Many of these people who receive these inflated fines immediately request hearings to challenge them,” he said. “Then, after failed payment plans, many just refuse to go downtown again.”
Cunningham referred to the process as “labor-intensive.”
Although Cunningham believes expensive tickets are cost prohibitive, he doesn’t want to give any breaks to people who park in handicap spots or those who park outside the lines and block the streetcar.