Chronic parking ticket offenders to get the boot in St. Pete

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The next in a series of improvementsto make parking in downtown St. Petersburg more accessible, convenient andfair was unveiled today by Mayor Bill Foster. Beginning April 15, 2011,vehicles whose owners have at least three outstanding and overdue parkingtickets or one overdue disabled parking ticket may be booted with animmobilization device until the overdue parking citations are paid.

“We have a very small minority of drivers in downtown St. Petersburg whodemonstrate a flagrant disregard of the city’s parking regulations, and haveincurred significant debts in unpaid citations,” said Mayor Bill Foster. Oneviolator currently owes the city $8,405 in overdue fines stemming from 131different parking citations.

Through an ordinance passed by City Council in November, any vehicle that hasa minimum of three overdue parking citations can be immobilized with a “boot.”Currently there are more than 2,700 vehicle tags with three or moreoutstanding violations.

Before a vehicle is booted, the registered owner will have received at leastthree tickets (or one major infraction for parking in a disabled only spacewithout a disabled person credential), followed by a late notice for each
citation, and a booting notice – in all, at least 10 prior notificationsbefore the vehicle is booted. The booting notice offers provisions for callingthe city’s Parking Citation Office and arranging for payment options before
the vehicle is placed on the boot list.

Once a vehicle is immobilized, the owner must pay a $25 booting fee, plus anyoverdue parking citations. In the event the vehicle is booted after officehours, the city’s towing vendor (Tri-J Towing) can collect payments duringnights, weekends and holidays when the Parking Citation Office is closed.

During the past nine months, the city has initiated a number of parkingimprovements to make downtown parking more customer-friendly. These haveincluded a new feature to pay meters by cellphone linked to your credit card;reduced meter and time-limit enforcement hours; extended one hour and 90minute parking spaces to two hours; offering an amnesty program in meteredparking areas for anyone receiving their first parking citation if they show areceipt for doing at least $25 in business downtown; providing affordableparking rates for employees downtown who work evening hours; and more.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.