In winter of 2009, the City of Atlanta began cruising the streets looking to generate revenue from illegally parked vehicles and vehicles with outstanding parking fines. To accomplish this task, they contracted a company called PARKatlanta to enforce parking rules and collect fines.
PARKatlanta also subcontracted A-Tow wrecker service to boot and tow cars with excessive parking fines or which were illegally parked. As a dispatcher for A-tow, I’ve seen fines in excess of $3000.00 on some of these vehicles.
It sounds unbelievable but it’s true.
Within the last month or so there has been some heavy opposition from citizens and business owners alike concerning the Atlanta’s park enforcement company. City Councilman Kwanza Hall is in the forefront for the revision of PARKatlanta’s enforcement strategy.
According to Creative Loafing, Hall says PARKatlanta needs to better inform the public as to where they can and can’t park. He also says the public deserves time to adjust to newly unveiled no-parking signs and freshly installed meters.
The Atlanta City Council has passed a 30-day moratorium on PARKatlanta’s ability to ticket and ultimately boot illegally parked cars. The parking enforcement program may need some fine tuning but overall it is a revenue generator for the city of Atlanta. There are many legitimate reasons for parking tickets and although some people go ahead and pay them there are plenty of others who have repeatedly violated the law and ultimately end up having their vehicle booted and/or impounded.
Who Do I Believe?
The media coverage of this situation has not been the most accurate either. While local television stations have had easy access to record ticket writers, booters, and other employees of PARKatlanta enforcing the law, they have chosen at times to show boot models on TV that were not used by PARKatlanta but some other booting companies doing business in the city.
The media also fails to cover the people with excessive parking fees which the city needs to collect and recirculate to help itself out of financial trouble. With all the cutbacks and layoffs, there needs to be more revenue generators in place or the things that are generating revenue need to be amplified. The monies generated from these problem drivers who do not want to pay for parking could possibly be used to open up some of the fire stations that have closed within the last few years or to create jobs in some other revenue generating area for the city.
The moratorium will be over in a few days and it will be interesting to see what changes have taken place. There will be changes. The community has spoken and their voices have been heard.
Gwynedd Stuart, “Ticketed and Ticked Off”, Creative Loafing