Wallets could take a harder hit for Atlanta festival goers who choose to park illegally.
Atlanta City Councilmembers Kwanza Hall and Alex Wan proposed legislation to raise parking tickets for those who illegally park during festivals from $25 to $75.
Hall said the Midtown Neighbors Association (MNA) requested for him and Wan to introduce the legislation to the Atlanta City Council because the MNA wants higher fines to stop people from illegally parking in residential permit parking spaces.
MNA President Anthony Rizzuto said since the current price to park in Midtown ranges from $12 to $25 and Park Atlanta’s tickets are only $25, the fine is not enough of a deterrent to stop illegal parking in residential neighborhoods.
“You can understand that if you were coming to a festival and you’re faced with paying $18 to park in a parking deck and walk three blocks or park in a restricted parking lot and only get fined $25, many people, in fact, opt to illegally park,” he said.
Of the 450 festivals Atlanta hosts yearly, 152 are held in Midtown, according to Rizzuto
At this year’s Dogwood Festival, more than 500 attendees parked illegally, according to Hall.
While it was the MNA who voiced the initial concern, Wan said the legislation isn’t restricted to festivals held specifically in Midtown.
“The legislation provides for any residential permit parking areas within a one mile radius of any permitted Class A outdoor festivals,” he said.
The proposed legislation only intends to raise parking tickets for Class A festivals, as they are the largest festivals with over 50,000 in attendance, according to Hall.
Currently, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Atlanta Pride Festival, the Peachtree Road Race, and Music Midtown are Atlanta’s only Class A festivals, according to Hall.
Wan said neighborhoods have permitted parking because their historic homes don’t have driveways or garages and the permits work to limit access to the already limited parking spaces.
“Basically, residential permit parking programs are only granted to those streets that don’t have enough spaces for those residents there even to park in,” he said.
Hall said with festivals attracting Atlantans from adjacent neighborhoods, the illegal parking in permitted parking spaces further inconveniences the residents of Midtown having access to their homes.
The legislation is being held by the City Council’s Transportation Committee until input is received from Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs), according to Hall.
“The City Council’s Transportation Committee wants to hear from the City’s Neighborhood
Planning Units before taking a vote, so it will be a few more weeks before they consider this proposal,” he said.
The earliest possible time the legislation could move forward is at the next committee meeting on June 10, according to Wan.
Georgia State student Mason Davis said he doesn’t believe raising ticket prices will be much of a deterrent
“People that park illegally will probably get better at avoiding security,” he said.