TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If you’ve been racking up parking tickets in Tucson, you may want to settle those debts - fast.
The city of Tucson is getting creative when it comes to getting its money back thanks to a new device that’s giving the “boot” to traditional enforcement methods.
“You’ve got to pay your fines,” said Steve Kozachik, the Tucson City Council Member for Ward 6.
According to Kozachik, each year the city writes off about $6 million of debt and a small portion of that is unpaid parking tickets. Right now, the city recorded 667 people with at least three unpaid parking tickets.
So, a new “three strikes” policy will take to the streets in March.
“On your third unpaid parking fine, we are going to hold you accountable for it,” Kozachik said.
The way they hold offenders accountable is sure to get attention.
Drivers who overstay their welcome in parking spots for the third time may find a surprise on their windshield. It’s called a Barnacle. The windshield block uses suction cup technology and can’t be pried off without damaging the windshield itself. Only parking enforcement agents will be able to unlock the boots.
“You’ll have to contact City Court to get it removed within 24 hours,” Kozachik said.
The boots will be removed once the parking fines are paid, or a payment plan has been set up, which could be hundreds of dollars depending on the violations and late fees.
Kozachik says enforcement will be focused on the downtown area.
Representatives of many businesses on Fourth Avenue said it’s too soon to comment on the new policy. However, all of the ones we spoke with said they hope this will cut down on the number of drivers “risking it” and parking in spaces all day, especially given the limited spots.
Drivers, though, are not impressed.
“It’s very extreme, especially after just three parking tickets,” Laird Galloway said. “As well as the fact if you have to get to court, you’re going to have to get there somehow … and most families are only a one-car household. It just seems ridiculous that they have to go to court to get it undone, but they don’t have a car to get to court.”
Galloway says he’s never received a parking ticket but knows many who will be affected. With a decision like this, he wonders why there was no public input.
“You definitely need to involve the citizens,” Galloway said.
Kozachik tells us the ordinance has been in place for years and they are just now investing in enforcing it.
The boots have been ordered and Kozachik believes they will pay for themselves over time.
“It will be less for enforcement agents, it will be less court time, it will be less unpaid debt,” he said. “The most important thing is we are taking care of some of the businesses that rely on the parking spaces.”