Parking fines increase by $5 in Ames

Anna Bellegante

Parking fines for the city of Ames increased from $15 to $20 as of Sunday, July 1; however, $5 will still be waived if paid within seven days.

Illegal parking violations include: blocking sidewalks, driveways or fire hydrants; parking without the proper permit; parking on the wrong side of the road; or parking during restricted hours.

The fees were increased after receiving feedback from various members of the community, Ames Police Chief Chuck Cychosz said. Although there were mixed opinions about raising parking fines overall, business owners, neighborhood associations and students said increasing fines would discourage illegal parking, especially on football game days.

The university provides parking on game days, but with the large number of people in town, Cychosz said many would rather risk a ticket by illegally parking on residential streets. Students and other citizens expressed their frustrations with vehicles flooding their neighborhoods and were concerned about not being able to receive emergency services in a timely manner.

“I don’t know if [raising parking fines are] going to help that situation or not, but I think we all need to be cognizant of those game day regulations and encourage people to use the ISU parking that is provided on game day,” Cychosz said.

The city’s parking division intends to break even by running on the revenue collected from parking fines. The previous fines, however, were leaving a deficit in the budget. For example, a $5 citation cost the city $6.78 to enforce in 2010.

Nevertheless, Cychosz emphasized that increasing parking fines was not motivated by revenue.

“We don’t go into this to make money,” Cychosz said. “The real goal is to … make it safe to drive around and make it possible for people to park safely.”