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Syracuse 2023 parking ticket review: ‘Park at Your Own Risk’

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Did you know that 60% of parking tickets issued in the City of Syracuse in 2023 were issued between 9 a.m. and noon?

City Auditor Alexander Marion released the City of Syracuse’s newest report “Park at Your Own Risk” which highlights and analyzes parking violations that happened in 2023.

“Parking is big business for the City of Syracuse and, with careful management, it can become a major source of reliable revenue,” said Marion. 

Marion explained that a strategic plan for parking keeps Syracuse’s streets safer and more organized for everyone. This includes drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Marion says that there is an “eye-popping number of parking tickets each year” which is about 62,000.

He explained that although find a ticket on your windshield is a headache for you, and can be a financial burden for others, it is a consistent stream of income into the city.

Annually, the city brings in more than $2+ million in revenue from violations and penalties. Meters making another $2+ million, and city garages and parking lots tack on another $2+ million. In all, the revenue into the city from the 2022-23 fiscal year was over $8 million.

Other highlights of the City Auditor’s report include:

  • Overtime tickets are most common in downtown; Alternate side violations are most commonly written in neighborhoods.
  • The most common blocks to receive tickets on are 300 block of Waverly Ave, 100 block of Marshall Street, 300 block of Montgomery Street, the airport, and the 300 block of Walnut Place.
  • Between 9,000 and 12,000 violations were written on weekdays; less than 5,000 were written on Saturdays and Sundays when parking checkers are not scheduled for work
  • The most common time of day to receive a parking violation is 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • Many violations are issued without photographic evidence – potential grounds for appeal and dismissal.
  • Some of the city’s parking signage is outdated – including old-style static accessibility signage – and pay-to-park signage is inconsistent.

City Auditor Marion issued a series of recommendations to improve Syracuse’s parking process, including:

  • Increase the number of parking checkers, stagger their schedules, and hire a new supervisor to improve enforcement during scheduled hours.
  • Establish a new violation for “Blocking a Bike Lane”.
  • Creating a Department of Parking and Mobility to handle parking and transportation issues, consolidating operations that currently span Police, DPW, Law, and Finance.
  • Use new pricing strategies, like surge pricing and zone pricing, to increase revenue – especially around special events.
  • Standardize and update parking signage, including accessibility signage.
  • Update the traffic code to refer to “accessible” parking instead of “handicap” parking – the language preferred by the disability community.
  • Assess a per-space license charge on private lots and garages to raise more revenue.
  • Move away from handwritten tickets towards computer-generated tickets so photographic evidence can always be included.
  • Revisit loading zones permits.
  • Create an alternatives to fines program to provide options for people who cannot afford fines and fees.
  • Increase fines for violations impacting public safety and accessibility.
  • Review State surcharges and late fees.
  • Improve transparency online for ticket-payers.
  • Increase the initial payment due date from 20 to 30 days.
  • Ensure compliance with local laws and reporting.

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