The system is broken - and we can fix it...

The city of Wilmington is in the process of becoming a truly awesome city - a place where entrepreneurs, artists, educators, and businesses create incredible things.

Since October of 2011, the citizens, business community, arts community, Wilmington City Officials, and others have been engaged in improving the parking and parking enforcement issues in the city of Wilmington.

Huge progress has been made and the direction we are going as a community is extremely positive!

This blog chronicles the efforts of all who helped make this happen...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Great New Initiatives from the city of Wilmington!

I honestly cannot say enough good things about the city of Wilmington right now!

Thanks to the hard work and cooperation of the people in the city administration, city council, the business community, residents, and friends of the city, we are seeing tremendous progress in the parking issue!

Below is a copy of the release put out by the city this morning, and here's my take on it:

Mayor Announces Additional Parking and Ticketing Reforms

Posted on  04/13/2012 10:55 am
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker today announced additional parking and ticketing reforms designed to make the City’s systems more transparent and user friendly as well as to provide needed parking opportunities for citizens in residential and business areas of the City. The City’s parking and ticketing laws, regulations and policies have been under review since last year when public concerns were raised about the fairness of the parking and ticketing programs—concerns that were fueled by misperceptions that the City’s programs were being guided or designed by the City’s need for additional revenue.
Mayor Baker said today parking enforcement is necessary to keep vehicles moving in and out of parking spaces in order to support retail business and allow for the flow of commerce; to ensure that people living in neighborhoods can park near their residences; and to ensure that transportation routes are not blocked when emergency vehicles or City sanitation vehicles need to navigate dense City neighborhoods.
“Today’s announcements and other parking and ticketing reforms announced previously this year should demonstrate to citizens that their government officials are listening to legitimate concerns and will take action when necessary to reform Wilmington’s parking and ticketing programs,” said the Mayor.
Reforms announced today:
  • The Mayor will send City Council legislation that will establish a discount for early payment of parking tickets. The program will offer a $10 discount to any citizen who pays a $40 parking ticket within 48-hours of when the citation was issued. The discount applies only to payments made in person at the Redding City/County Building on French Street and online The discount does not apply to payments made by mail.
  • As of April 1, the City stopped issuing tickets to vehicles that park in a street cleaning zone once the street cleaning process is completed. Prior to this change, vehicles had to wait two hours before they were allowed to park in a street sweeping zone. Legislation is pending before City Council to formally change this law, however, the City’s Public Works Commissioner is authorized under City Code to make this change administratively which he did on April 1 to coincide with the beginning of the street sweeping season which began on April 1 and runs through October 31.
  • Beginning April 2, Wilmington’s Office of Civil Appeals began mailing an acknowledgement letter to citizens who have chosen to protest or appeal a ticket. The letter is being mailed within seven days of the appeals office receiving an appeal. Prior to this change, citizens would claim that an appeal had been filed, but the Appeals Office would have no record of the appeal. The acknowledgment letter is an effort to provide a record for the citizen and the City of the appeal. If a citizen does not receive an acknowledgment letter within seven days of filing an appeal, they should call the Office of Civil Appeals at 576-3908 to learn the status of their appeal letter.
  • As a further reform, the Office of Civil Appeals is processing appeals more quickly and is operating on a 30-day turnaround in order to respond more efficiently to citizens who protest a ticket. If the Civil Appeals Office upholds a ticket, a citizen may then protest the ticket in the State Justice of the Peace Court.
  • The City’s Parking Enforcement Office has begun a pilot program entitled “On Vehicle Notification” (OVN) to inform a vehicle owner when they are approaching the $200 threshold that will result in their vehicle being “booted.” The City has begun placing a notice on vehicles to inform owners that their vehicle has incurred between $100 and $199 in tickets. The notice urges them to pay their fines before the vehicle is booted, which will result in them incurring additional costs. There are approximately 33,000 vehicle owners who have outstanding fines of between $100 and $199 attached to the vehicle.
  • The City has revised the first “Notification of Parking Ticket” letter that is mailed to a vehicle owner within seven days of a ticket being issued. Besides stating the reason, date and time of the violation, the letter clearly lists the options available to the citizen to either pay the ticket or appeal the ticket. The revised notification is intended to assist citizens in understanding their options immediately without having to seek further information via telephone or website. In addition to this initial notice, the City also mails three other notices to citizens to remind them that a ticket payment is outstanding.
  • The City has revised its temporary parking permit program to prohibit a citizen from obtaining a parking pass for at least seven days after their initial seven day pass has expired. The new rule was established after the City determined that citizens were abusing the temporary parking pass program which was originally established to allow for visitors, health care professionals and other temporary visitors to a home to park in a residential parking zone without a residential sticker. (NOTE: The City also offers a temporary parking pass program for construction vehicles and other private vendors offering in-home services which is managed by the City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, 302-576-3030).
  • New informational labels for parking meters (see attached images) have been ordered and will soon be applied to all meters throughout the City. The new stickers will inform citizens of the two-hour parking limitation at meters on Monday through Friday; information about enforcement not occurring on Saturdays and Sundays; parking rates; hours that parking enforcement officers are on patrol; and information about how to report a broken meter.
  • Mayor Baker will also soon send legislation to City Council to establish a Wilmington Parking Regulation Council that will advise the Mayor and Council of issues related to parking and ticketing concerns. The Council will also review new processes and technologies to continue to make parking and ticketing regulations more transparent while at the same time helping the City to adhere to the need for parking regulations and restrictions. The new Council will be comprised of officials from the Administration and Council, private parking authorities, and citizens.
Mayor Baker today also updated other reforms to the parking and ticketing programs were previously announced by his office:
  • The City’s PREOs (Parking Regulations Enforcement Officers) have received 10 hours of training focusing on deploying these City employees as ambassadors for the City while at the same time stressing their legal responsibility to enforce parking laws. The training has also focused on one-on-one contact with citizens as well as when and how to disengage from a conversation with a citizen when necessary while issuing a ticket to avoid a verbal or physical altercation.
  • Beginning May 1, the City’s PREOs will distribute informational brochures concerning parking rules in Wilmington to educate citizens about parking laws, how those laws are enforced and how to avoid receiving a ticket.
  • On February 1, the City posted a concise list of parking regulations on its website ( including information about obtaining residential and business-related parking permits, temporary parking permits for family and friends who visit, street signage information, meter information, metered parking spaces for persons with disabilities and the process for paying fines or appealing tickets along with a host of other laws. The list also includes contact information so citizens may call the City with questions. The parking tips list is also available via U.S. mail to any citizen who does not have access to the Internet. They may request the information by calling the Office of Constituent Services at 576-2489.
  • The City is continuing to adopt “smart” technology to upgrade its metered parking system. The City has ordered six additional multiple-space parking kiosks that will accept credit card payments and print a receipt for citizens, as well as 23 single-space meters that allow for payment by cell phone. The City has already installed multi-space parking kiosks along Justison Street on the Riverfront that also provide new payment options and receipts for citizens.
  • The City changed all metered limited-time parking in Wilmington from one-hour to two hours in 2011. A survey of downtown businesses indicated that the vast majority of businesses favored extended parking for their customers. All meters in Wilmington allow for the purchase of up to two hours of parking ($.25 for each 15 minutes of parking).
  • The City extended the length of time for commercial and retail businesses to use loading zones in 2011. The City revised its loading zone law to allow for the use of such zones for the active loading or unloading of materials for up to one hour instead of the previously allowed 15 minutes. In addition, non-commercial vehicles that are used by businesses for commercial purposes may place magnetic panels on each of a vehicle’s front doors indicating the name of the business and may use loading zones in the City for up to one hour.

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