CARTA's Parking Enforcement is Making Money

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 5/14/2013 7:09 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) --- The city's efforts to create more parking spaces in downtown Chattanooga are apparently working.
And, that program is also bringing-in more revenue.
CARTA took-over that job from city police last October.

If you decide to park on the curb in Nashville, Birmingham or Philadelphia, it'll cost you between 2-dollars and 6.75 cents an hour.
It Chattanooga, its 75-cents an hour.
CARTA has installed new pay stations like this one in front of the Aquarium and enforcement is done by the so-called Ambassadors.
They smile----but its a much tighter enforcement.

GREGORY ALEXANDER, PARKING AMBASSADOR "What we don't want is that person to leave saying that they got a ticket. We want them to leave saying someone helped them find where they need to go."

CARTA, which has been operating the city's parking meters, agreed last year to take on enforcement.
The bus service contracted with Republic Parking which hires and supervises the eight parking ambassadors like Chris King.

He is one of those who took the job once done by police department employees.

JIM BOWEN "They had other jobs..other than just enforcing the parking. They would work accidents, they would work crowd control."

The Ambassadors try to make sure all visitors and shoppers can find a place to park.

JIM BOWEN "You can see the difference out in front of the stores...the ultimate goal is to have about 15% of the stations available at any given time."

Six months into the program, the Chattanooga Parking Authority has collected almost 440-thousand dollars in parking fees and fines. In 2012, the city made only 220-thousand dollars for the entire year.

JIM BOWEN "That's working really well. We have a program that allows the work staff at the various restaurants and shops to park offsite in garages for 15-to-20 dollars a month. We've got 140 of them signed up."

Jim Bowen says CARTA will do an assessment of their parking enforcement program later this yea to see what changes may need to be made.
And, by the way---downtown parking will be free on Memorial Day.

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