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Sarasota Thursday, May. 7, 2009 8 years ago

Tricks of the trade

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Anyone cruising downtown last week might have noticed a parking-enforcement officer jotting down license plate numbers instead of marking car tires with chalk.

Perry Neuroth, the city’s parking-enforcement supervisor, said it’s not a new policy. Officers go on foot patrols occasionally when their vehicles are being serviced.

However, recording license-plate numbers can help the city keep track of drivers who use time-honored techniques to try to trick parking-enforcement officers.

City ordinance 33-118 states that when a parked car has reached the end of the time limit on the street sign, that car has to move completely off the block.

“You have to give other people a chance to park,” Neuroth said.

He acknowledges that chalk on the tire wears off after a car moves 100 feet, but it is still illegal to move a few spaces forward, drive around the block and immediately park again on the same block or physically rub off the chalk.

The fine for exceeding posted parking time limits is $15. If someone is caught obscuring a chalk mark, the penalty jumps to $250.

In the off-season, Neuroth said officers notice more easily the cars that try to beat the system, because they see the same cars every day. But it’s up to the parking-enforcement officer to either write a ticket or issue a warning.

“It’s a discretionary call,” Neuroth said. “If it’s a habitual offender, they’re more likely to write a ticket.”


The following tricks are illegal:
• Physically removing chalk from tires.
• Rolling the car so the chalk mark is obscured.
• Driving the 100 feet necessary to erase the chalk, then parking on the same block.

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