The ins and outs of a proposed increase in parking fines for downtown Lawrence

When you cover city government for more than 20 years, you pick up some odd pet peeves along the way. One of mine is when people start talking about how the city’s downtown parking system doesn’t generate enough revenue to even pay for the cost of enforcing the parking system. Not true, but the thought comes up every so often, and it did again at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting.

More importantly, the idea that the city is operating a losing proposition when it comes to downtown parking came up as part of a discussion about whether the city ought to raise parking fines in downtown. I don’t have any opinion on whether the city should raise parking fines in downtown Lawrence. You can certainly make the argument the fines are low compared with some other communities. You can also argue that shoppers find the idea of paying for parking annoying.

But if commissioners raise the parking fine — current talk would raise the overtime parking fine by $1 to $2 — it shouldn’t be because people think the parking system doesn’t pay for itself. Some folks who watched Tuesday’s City Commission may have been left with that impression.

(Read more: Town Talk Feed)

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