Wilmington takes steps to reduce confusion, frustration over parking enforcement

Mayor James Baker of Wilmington has announced several measures to better inform the public about parking restrictions and how they are enforced.

Baker, who has received two tickets himself in recent months, said he understands the perception that parking enforcement seems more directed toward revenue-enhancement than a necessary function to ensure traffic flow and provide overall parking for residents and visitors. 

“I want business to thrive.  I want people to be able to park near their homes and near where they choose to shop or be entertained,” Baker said.  “But I also want citizens to understand that there are important reasons why cities have parking laws, and those reasons are not related to any sort of quotas for raising revenue.” 

The steps announced by the Mayor include additional training for Wilmington’s Parking Regulation Enforcement Officers, to focus on deploying them as “ambassadors for the city while at the same time stressing their legal responsibility to enforce parking laws.”  PREOs will also carry new informational literature concerning parking rules.  Also, around March 1st the city will mail a notice to the owner of a ticketed vehicle within seven days informing them that a ticket was issued, hopefully alleviating the problem of tickets that go missing.  Parking regulations will be fully outlined on Wilmington’s website, wilmingtonde.gov.  A block-by-block review of signage related to parking will be conducted in conjunction with Downtown Visions, and the wording on parking meters will be changed to make it clear that coins are not required at certain times, such as weekends and some holidays. 

Other measures are also being taken or are under consideration. 

The city’s enforcement procedures came under criticism recently by developers and contributors to the blog wilmingtonparking.blogspot.com, who met with city officials January 13th to discuss their concerns.  On the blog, creator Ken Grant said “I believe all of these proposals are positive steps forward and will help in our efforts to create a truly stellar system for residents, businesses and visitors in Wilmington.”

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