alibi online
2014 Best of Burque RestaurantsFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 
 V.17 No.23 | June 5 - 11, 2008 

Newscity

Parking Scofflaws Get the Boot

Seven cars were clamped last year. Last month? Thirty.

Rex Barron

Robert Hays found out about the city's parking ticket crackdown the hard way. Hays had 87 unpaid citations. Once his car got slapped with a boot on April 18, he was faced with a decision: Either pay the roughly $4,000 he owed the city or set up separate court dates to contest each violation. Hays chose the latter, and he'll have spent almost two months going to court for several hours nearly every weekday. Hays says instead of the $4,000 he would have had to cough up, he'll pay about $600 in court fees. Many of the tickets have been dismissed, he says, because the officers who issued them haven’t attended the hearings.

"The city should have enforced their parking laws a long time ago," Hays says. "I think a lot of people aren't aware of how many tickets they have, and nothing's happened to them for so long. To all of a sudden start enforcing it can almost ruin people's lives."

Metro Court Spokesperson Janet Blair says each citation usually requires a separate court date. She also says there are no payment plans available for parking tickets. Those who can't afford to pay the city can work off their debt by doing community service at the state's minimum wage, Blair says.

Parking at city meters just got a lot riskier for folks with unpaid citations. If you have three or more tickets and your car is spotted by a parking enforcement officer, it'll probably get a boot clamped on it. No laws have changed, but a few weeks ago, Albuquerque's Parking Division received six new handheld devices that allow officers to immediately check a vehicle's history. Officers can tell on the spot whether the driver of the car they're writing a ticket for has unpaid citations.

The quick access to info has resulted in more than 30 booted cars in the month of May. In contrast, the Parking Division put seven clamps on vehicles during all of last year.

After the boot is on, owners have 72 hours to pay to get it off, or their car is towed and stored at their expense. "I think the number of boots should be a wake-up notice to people who think they're not going to pay their tickets and nothing's going to happen," says Mark Motsko, spokesperson for the Municipal Development Department, which oversees the Parking Division. "Just because it's not a felony, doesn't mean we don't want people to pay."

Revenue collected from violations pays for meters, parking structures, equipment and parking division staff. Motsko says the purpose of paid parking is to ensure a high turnover of cars, which means businesses have a better chance of getting more customers through their doors. "The parking statute has been on the books for a long time," Motsko says. "People are trying to get away with something that, in the long run, is going to be more costly than a quarter in a meter."

Santa Fe has a more lenient way of dealing with parking scofflaws. People with multiple tickets can schedule one court date to deal with all of their citations. People can also set up payment plans with the court so they don't have to pay all of what they owe at once.

After a car owner in the City Different has three or more unpaid citations, they're sent up to four warnings explaining that they must pay their parking tickets. If they still haven't responded, the next time their car is parked illegally, the boot goes on and owners have three days to pay. If they don't, the car is towed. Santa Fe Parking Division Director Bill Hon says it's a drawn-out process for a reason. "We do the best we can to give people due notice," Hon says. "We go that extra step to make sure people understand that we've told and told and told them that their car can be booted."

Booted? Here's what to do:

Go to Metro Court at 401 Lomas NW. Either pay your citations when you go or set up court dates to contest them. Decisions regarding the community service option are made by the judge at the hearings.

After you’ve either set your hearings or paid your tickets, bring documentation that you've dealt with your tickets to the parking division at 600 Second Street. You'll have to pay a $50 boot removal fee before they'll let you go. Remember, you have three days to get the boot off before your car is towed.

If you're not sure whether you have unpaid tickets, call 841-8151 and give the operator your license plate number.

 

Today's Events

NMX Running Dead at Warehouse 508

A "fun as hell" 5K with man-made obstacles and zombies lurking around every corner.

Yoga Saturdays: Bike in Coffee at Old Town Farm

Birth Grief & Loss Support Group at Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center

More Recommented Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    3 Bad Jacks
    3 Bad Jacks9.23.2014