Your chances of getting a parking ticket in downtown KC are about to go up
Here's a warning to anyone who parks in downtown Kansas City: Starting Monday, the police are cracking down on violations by issuing more tickets.
The city has allocated $145,000 this budget cycle to the Kansas City Police Department to upgrade parking enforcement downtown.
According to Major Greg Dull, that money will be used to hire 10 parking control officers for the city center. There are currently four.
With more officers comes more tickets for those who block a driveway, leave their car in a no parking zone or forget to feed the meters.
Typical fines range from $25 for an expired meter to $120 for parking illegally in a handicapped spot. Tickets for parking in a no parking zone cost $50. All violations come with an additional $22.50 in court costs.
There will be an adjustment period; many violators will find warning tickets on their cars that don't come with a fine.
"We're not saying how long the grace period will be," Dull said.
The goal of the crackdown is to reduce parking problems for downtown residents and businesses. Dull said that as downtown development boomed over the past 10 years, the influx of people has caused more problems and complaints.
"I've been frustrated going downtown to find a place to park and eat lunch," he said.
As parking problems multiplied, the number of parking control officers dwindled from 17 to four. Dull said the decrease was caused by retirement, attrition and heavy turnover.
Dull explained that it's hard to retain parking control officers because the job is tough. Those who do it have to work through heat waves and snow storms. The pay isn't great, and parking control officers don't get many positive interactions with the public.
He added that the $145,000 from the city is a good start, but that more money will be needed as downtown Kansas City continues to grow: "We are way understaffed compared to a lot of cities."
The city is also working to improve downtown parking by adding smart meters and online reservations for parking garages. Earlier this year, meters were installed in lots surrounding the City Market to free up spots for customers.