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Ticket Time: New Push On Parking Rules

February 22, 2006
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer

Unpaid meters and poorly parked cars are no longer likely to get a free pass in downtown Hartford.

In what officials say is a bid to make it easier for those interested in stopping downtown to find a parking space, a new era of enforcement is about to begin.

"There's going to be a different level of parking enforcement," said James J. Kopencey, executive director of the Hartford Parking Authority. "We encourage all of the people who use the parking meters to obey the signs and to bring their quarters with them."

The authority assumed responsibility for the city's on-street parking program Feb. 15. After contracting with Central Parking System to run the program, the authority hired eight full-time parking enforcement officers.

Add them to the three city employees who do parking enforcement as part of their jobs, and the results will be noticeable when the program starts within the next couple of weeks, officials say.

"They have a quota," Kopencey said. "Their quota is to write as many tickets as a healthy person can write on a reasonable day."

"The goal is to promote access to destinations in the central business district and to make sure people share a parking space," he added. "That's what the parking meter is all about."

Fines have not changed, although that is something the authority will consider in the year to come.

M. Ronald Morneault, co-owner of Tuesday's clothing store on Asylum Street and president of Business for Downtown Hartford, likes the authority's move.

"It's a good thing," Morneault said of the increased enforcement actions.

The state made a good first step by building the Morgan Street Garage, Morneault said, which "gets long-term parkers off the street and makes it affordable to them."

Now, he said, people need to get "used to the idea that metered parking is short-term." The meters are for use on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Steve Delpapa works in Newington and occasionally uses the downtown YMCA site. As he filled his meter with an hour's worth of change Tuesday afternoon, Delpapa said that planning ahead when coming downtown is a must.

"Gotta get change, gotta get change," he said.

As for the prospect of greater enforcement, Delpapa said it doesn't bother him because he feeds the meters regularly. "Some people do it without putting the money in and they take their chances. But if they're going to be patrolling even more, they're going to have to [pay]. I've always done it anyway."

Tim Hampford sat in his car on Trumbull Street, typing on his computer. The Trumbull resident lived in the city 10 years ago and thinks that more enforcement makes sense.

"If they don't have enough people covering, then they should ramp it up," Hampford said, agreeing that on-street parking should be short-term. "It absolutely makes sense."

While the authority awaits its newly printed tickets, the new parking enforcers will be handing out tickets with smiley faces and kind warnings reminding parkers to bring their quarters.

Within a year or so, Kopencey hopes the authority will begin to roll out its new "pay and display" machines that will make the current 1,800 meters obsolete and will allow parkers to pay with plastic instead of coins.

For now, though, Kopencey is ready to go with what he's got.


"We're extremely anxious to do what we've been charged with doing for a very long time," Kopencey said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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