Jon Stevens

Park at your wallet’s peril

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After reading the account of Waynesburg Borough Council’s meeting in Tuesday’s paper, it became quite apparent I will need to adjust my parking habits on borough streets.


Council plans to hold a public hearing to revise its parking ordinance to increase fines for violations. Since 1986, when parking meters were removed from most of the borough’s thoroughfares and free two-hour parking was initiated, the fine for violating said two-hour free parking was $5.


So, how has the nonmetered, two-hour parking limit been enforced? By a chalk mark on a tire.


The parking patrol begins making rounds about 9 a.m., placing a yellow chalk mark on tires of cars parked on High, Washington, Morgan, Morris, Church and probably a handful of other streets.


Two hours later, the enforcement officer repeats the route, taking note if the marked car is still there. If so, a $5 parking ticket goes on the windshield.


This proposed ordinance will increase the fine from $5 to $20. That’s a 300 percent increase. Excessive? Well, I think so, considering I paid my fair share of $5 fines over the years.


Now, back to this public hearing. I would guess many who attend will be downtown merchants strongly advocating for the fine increase. See, some complain people park in front of their stores longer than two hours, denying prospective shoppers an opportunity to patronize their establishments.


Of course, there may be others who work in Waynesburg, not in any of the retail shops, but who, nevertheless, want to park close to their place of work, such as the county courthouse. If this latter group of people are unable to find the really free places, such as a certain side alley or a street beyond the wand of the yellow chalk marker, then I suspect to see a stream of people leaving their workplaces to move their cars before that $20 ticket is placed on the windshield.


This hearing also will include a consideration to revise the littering ordinance, upping the fine from $5 to $25 and adding cigarette butts to the list of items defined as litter.


There is nothing more distasteful than to see a few cigarette butts thrown in the gutter next to a car that has been parked there for more than two hours.


So, a word of advice to all of us who will be checking our tires and moving our cars to find a new two-hour window: If, by chance, you find that yellow ticket on your windshield, better move your car anyway.


You will be ticketed again every two hours if the vehicle is not moved.


And by all means, if you smoke, don’t get caught throwing your cigarette butt into the street.


Forty-five bucks is a lot to pay for a lousy watch and a bad habit.



Jon Stevens is the Greene County bureau chief. He can be reached at jstevens@observer-reporter.com.


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