Downtown motorists will have an “education” break during March before a new, aggressive push to enforce parking regulations begins, Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith said Wednesday.
The City Council recently approved funding to allow police to hire 10 additional parking control officers, all assigned to downtown. The move comes after an earlier plan by the city to privatize parking enforcement was shelved.
In his department blog, Smith said those new hires mean a much more aggressive enforcement of downtown parking regulations.
“At present, we have just four parking control officers and two supervisors for the entire city,” Smith wrote.
“They have worked their tails off to keep up with complaints, special events and more, but there just weren’t enough of them to keep up with growing downtown parking needs.
“To keep parking spaces turning over for everyone who needs them downtown, we will be stepping enforcement up considerably with the help of the new parking control officers.
“We’re not going to start handing out thousands more parking tickets overnight, though. We’ll begin a period of public education this month, which will include issuing a lot of warnings in lieu of tickets.
Smith also reminded people driving downtown about the new parking policy implemented at the beginning of this month in the City Market.
The City Market has begun charging for parking during weekday business hours in response to people who’d been leaving their cars there and riding the streetcar to their jobs.
The police chief said the crackdown on parking violations is in response to complaints from downtown businesses and residents.
“We’ve heard from several downtown business owners recently that their customers can’t park at their businesses because downtown residents have overstayed their time in parking spots,” he wrote.
“We’ve heard from downtown residents that people attending special events have taken up their parking spots. And we’ve heard from people attending downtown events that they can’t find a place to park.
“The renewed vibrancy of our downtown is exciting, but it comes with some growing pains. We look forward to working with everyone to make parking accessible to as many people as possible in the heart of KC.”
Smith invited people to contact him at email@example.com.
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