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Closings and Delays

City Raises Parking Fine Rates

Sehvilla Mann

Unlawful parking is about to get more expensive in the City of Kalamazoo. The City Commission voted on Monday to raise fines for a host of violations – from common offenses like overstaying a meter, to bolder moves such as parking a car in an intersection.

Some fees will double or even triple. Blocking an emergency exit, for example, will go from a $10 to a $30 offense. The fee for parking in a handicapped spot without a permit is set to rise from $50 to $75; Tammy Hibner told commissioners she’s glad to hear it.

"I have a daughter that’s in a wheelchair. And it really bothers me when I come downtown and I can’t find a place to park, and my van won’t fit in any of the ramps," she said.

Hibner says she’s not as keen on plans to raise parking prices at downtown meters and ramps. The board that controls those rates, the Downtown Development Authority, voted to raise them earlier this year. Though the city commission doesn’t control parking prices, it voted to endorse the DDA’s five-year parking plan at last night’s meeting.

Commissioner Jack Urban says he thinks the DDA’s plan will serve the city well, but he plans to keep an eye on it.

"I’m placing my trust in the experts at this point. But it’s ‘trust but verify,'" he said.

Both the downtown parking fee increase and the new rates for fines citywide take effect July 1.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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