City To Continue Parking Enforcement Routine

A chalk mark on a tire made by the one of the downtown parking enforcement officers. A decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, found found the practice of chalking tires in Saginaw, Mich., was unconstitutional. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Despite a Federal Court’s ruling finding the practice of chalking tires unconstitutional, city officials will not change its current parking enforcement routine.

This spring, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, found the practice of chalking tires in Saginaw, Mich., was unconstitutional.

“There has been a trespass in this case because the city made intentional physical contact” with vehicles, the court concluded.

Even though Jamestown isn’t in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals jurisdiction, The Post-Journal asked city officials if they play to stop using the method of chalking tires to determine if a vehicle has been parked longer than the permitted two hours in free zones or three hours in metered zones. City officials replied by stating “No.”

“There are no current plans to eliminate tire chalking as an enforcement method to prevent individuals from parking in the same space for more than the permitted two hours in free zones or three hours in metered zones, nor do we believe that our usage of this method violates the Constitution,” Peter Larson, city corporation counsel, said. “The Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction does not cover New York state. As the federal circuit courts frequently disagree, the city does not plan to change parking enforcement procedure on the basis of the Sixth Circuit ruling unless an equivalent ruling comes out of the Second Circuit or the Supreme Court.”

Larson said he would not comment on if any one has threaten to sue the city or fought has fought the chalk on the tire methods of parking enforcement.

As far as going to a digitalized monitoring of vehicles instead of using chalk, Larson didn’t rule out that possibility.

“If a practical, cost-effective method of digital monitoring were proposed, the city would likely consider implementing it,” he said.

“At present, there is a comprehensive plan in place to convert 300 of the approximately 900 parking meters downtown to brand new meters that will allow for payment by cash, credit card or smartphone app. The remaining meters will be retrofitted to accept payment by cash or smartphone app, but not credit card. The plan will also include a new system of wayfinding signage to direct drivers to available parking facilities, as well as to direct both drivers and pedestrians to various destinations downtown. The plan is awaiting final approval from the state (Department of Transportation) and the subsequent release of funding from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement program — a federal grant program administered by the states to provide funding for emissions and traffic congestion reduction efforts, including improvements in signage and parking infrastructure.”

At present, the city employs two parking enforcement officers, one full-time and one part-time, Larson said. Both parking enforcement officers typically work during the daytime shift. The part-time officer works a shorter day.

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