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Greensboro parking enforcement at full staff may explain bump in tickets

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The parking experience can be your first impression of a city if you're from out of town, and for some in Greensboro, they can't find enough to go around.

The type of parking depends on what part of downtown you are in: some spots have meters, some are free parking for 30 minutes or two hours, some parking lots are free while others are pay-to-park, and the parking decks are free for the first hour and have a rate every hour after that.

But regardless of where you park, people are noticing more enforcement in recent months. In July there were only 2,773 citations written city-wide, but that number jumped up to 4,342 in August and 3,937 in September. There have been 3,120 tickets written this month as of Oct. 24.

In July, the city hired one vacancy for parking enforcement, which it says could explain the bump. Still, Greensboro employs five parking enforcers compared to six and one part-time two years ago, so it is relatively less than past years.

Some businesses have pointed out the inconsistencies of the parking around town in the type of parking, be it paid or unpaid.

"A lot of that has been driven by demand over the years, and request that we've gotten from businesses," Greensboro Business and Parking Manager Stephen Carter said.

Carter says the city is always trying to adapt and cater to businesses. Last year, it changed the parking lot next McCoul's and across from Grey's Tavern into three hour free parking as a pilot project. This year, the city rolled out the park mobile app, so people could feed the meter remotely, but that doesn't mean folks are exempt from moving their car after the limit is up.

Carter says the cars moving around is good for business.

"Generate turnover in spaces, I mean that's the primary reason we're out there enforcing," he said.

There are two places where this money goes, for fees, or the money you actually put in the machine, it goes towards operation and maintenance of things like the parking garages. All the money made from parking tickets and citations, that goes to the city's general fund. As of the last day of September, there is more than $8.2 million in unpaid parking tickets owed to the city.