City Of Tulsa Continues Cracking Down On Parking Enforcement
TULSA, Oklahoma - Drivers who park downtown are getting scrutiny from the City of Tulsa which is now scanning car tags to look for chronic parking offenders.
The city has been cracking down on parking enforcement lately, after years of mostly ignoring people who didn't pay parking tickets.
With a new tag reader, the city can find those cars and put a boot on them faster than ever before.
Tulsa Security officer Craig Gaines works the downtown area anywhere there's a parking meter. He was out looking for cars on a list to be towed because they have at least two unpaid parking tickets.
However, he mostly lets a camera do the looking, and a computer check the tags.
"I've booted up four-wheelers and monster truck types, the boot will fit and it will be booted,” Gaines said.
Before last February the city hardly ever booted cars, but in the effort to clear out a mountain of unpaid tickets, the city actually started looking for chronic offenders.
Officers started with a list of the cars on paper, but that was too slow, so the city bought a camera system and hired an officer who patrols downtown and the meters around Hillcrest hospital.
It's the last step of enforcement that begins with tickets issued for staying too long in a spot.
Even though some parking meters don't work - leaving plenty of places to park for free - the city is also writing more tickets where the meters do work.
Once the broken meters are fixed the parking laws can be even more fully enforced; but those tickets have to accumulate before a car attracts the attention of the tag reader, and officer Gaines.
"They know I'm out here and people are plugging meters and they're focusing on parking and parking correctly,” he said.
In the last six months, the city has booted 134 cars and taken in $17,000 from outstanding tickets. The list of hundreds of cars is getting shorter.
"I'm finding less and less cars because the word is out that the camera is on the road,” Gaines said.
Gaines said when he started he would boot three or four cars a day, now it's down to just about one a day.