The city of Urbana, IL, is discussing an interesting idea. If you receive a parking ticket in its downtown area, and can bring in receipts to prove you were shopping during that time, the ticket would be voided. Read about it here.
This is the same approach shopping centers often use. You get an hour or two free parking and they begin to charge after that. However, if you can show that you purchased over a certain amount, say $150, you get an extra hour free.
We are talking on street validations. And why not? There are some issues that need to be addressed. First of all, who makes the determination as to the amount. If someone simply parks downtown all day and buys a newspaper, is that enough? Is the Hope Diamond enough? Somewhere in between? If it deals with only voiding tickets, it will certainly be inconsistent since most violations aren’t caught.
The program needs to be considered and then put in place with the stores validating parking, but buying validations from the city. This will force them to treat them with the respect they deserve. Customers will be asked how long they were parked and issued a “Citation get out of fine free” card for that day. If those cards aren’t worth something to the merchant, all sorts of cheating will abound.
The card could be mailed in with the citation and the city would then void the ticket, assuming all the criteria of the program are met.
I think it could be a good plan. Merchants pay for the onstreet parking of their customers. Why not? It happens in shopping centers, why not in central business districts.
Hat Tip: MR