January 22, 2014 - The days of unfettered parking on city lots are in the past. Drivers violating city parking rules will be ticketed.
Ralph Daigle is ready to write tickets to enforce parking lot rules in Clarkston. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
Clarkston City Council voted, Jan. 13, to have part-time Department of Public Works (DPW) employee Ralph Daigle issue parking tickets.
Fines are $10 for parking violations. Parking in handicap will cost drivers $150 and parking in a loading zone, $35.
Daigle will work 15 hours a week to check for violations. He issued warnings on Jan. 14 and 15, and started issuing citations, Jan. 16.
The first day, Daigle started checking at 4 a.m. and wrote 19 warnings to vehicles parked too long in two-hour parking zones, or parked on streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Daigle said when he is out looking for violations, he visits the lots periodically and writes down make, model and the vehicle identification numbers. He returns later to see if the vehicles are still parked there.
City Manager Carol Eberhardt said drivers can avoid tickets by not parking in time limited spots or on city streets in early a.m. hours throughout winter.
Eberhardt said a two-hour time limit in a parking at the corner of Main Street and Washington is continuously violated when drivers park there all day long.
"These spots need to be open for local businesses patrons," she said.
Another city no-parking ordinance Eberhardt said is being violated is in effect from Dec. 1 to April 1, 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., when city streets need to be plowed.
Eberhardt said when drivers park in the street, snow removal becomes difficult for DPW workers. She added there are many parking spots available for drivers without violating parking rules.
Workers at Clarkston Mills can park in a lower lot behind the Clarkston Mills adjacent to City Hall. Another lot in front of City Hall is also available for extended parking. Eberhardt said many businesses along Main Street have and need to use their own parking lots.
Parking problems are nothing new for the city.
"Parking has always been an issue in Clarkston," she said. "In fact, one city council talked about demolishing all the houses on Buffalo Street for parking and they were promptly fired."
To address the recent parking issue, Eberhardt said she conducted a study on her own.
"I found people regularly parking in two hour spots and staying there all day," she said. "I found about 20 cars in violation."
Newly elected council member David Marsh, who chairs the Streets, Sidewalk and Parking Committee, said committee members discussed parking issues in the city.
Marsh said he was hesitant to issue tickets to drivers because it's like telling people not to come into town. He added that he would rather see the signs limiting parking time be removed.
When a vote was taken, Marsh voted in favor of having Daigle perform parking enforcement because he will also enforce other code violations in the city.
Several city council members said the only thing that works to enforce parking rules is to issue citations.
Fines are payable at City Hall.
Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.