Fines for seven kinds of parking violations, from double-parking to leaving a car too close to a bus stop, would increase by $5 apiece this spring under a new proposal from the District of Columbia transportation department.
In separate actions, city transportation officials are also considering increasing the $25 fee to remove the "Denver boot," which immobilizes vehicles whose owners have been delinquent in paying traffic fines, according to D.C. parking administrator Fred Caponiti, but will probably reject a transition team proposal to extend the use of parking meters to cover evening and weekend hours.
The proposal to raise the fines for certain parking violations has been submitted to the D.C. corporation counsel's office for approval. The booting and parking meter proposals are still under consideration within the transportation department.
A spokesman for the counsel's office said its review of the proposed increases may be complete this week. The new fines will then be subject to a 45-day public comment period, after which they would take effect unless the department delays as a result of the comments, or unless the D.C. city council raises objections.
The new fines would mark the first increase in city parking fines since April 1980, when all $5 fines were raised to $10.
If the new fines are adopted, double parking would cost an errant motorist $15, up from the current $10 fine. Parking too close to an intersection would bring a $25 fine, up from $20.
Delivery vehicles are allowed to double-park on nonrush-hour streets by police and traffic officials as long they do not reduce the width of roadway to less than 10 feet. Under the new proposal, the fine for reducing the road's width beyond that point would go up from $15 to $20.
Fines for parking in a Metrobus zone or parking too close to a Metrobus stop would rise from $10 to $15, while tickets for parking on the sidewalk would go from $15 to $20 and those for parking that obstructs the entrance to a fire house would go from $20 to $25.
The city collected a total of $18 million in parking fines of all kinds in fiscal year 1982. The new penalties are expected to increase revenues by about $450,000 annually, according to transportation officials.
But Caponiti said the major reason for the proposed higher fines is to improve traffic flow.
The possible increase in booting fees comes in response to recent a federal General Accounting Office auditor's report, which criticized the city for charging too little to remove the iron clamps, Caponiti said. The report suggested the $25 fee be raised this year.
According to Caponiti, the booting fee has remained constant since the city started regularly using the devices in 1979. After the city's booting costs are reviewed, the $25 fee "might go as high as $30 or $35," Caponiti said. The potential increase would affect owners of 20,000 vehicles booted annually in the District.
While the transportation department will probably adopt the GAO report's suggestion, Caponiti said the agency is not as agreeable toward the mayoral transition team's recomendation to extend parking meter hours.
About $1 million in additional revenue would be generated by the proposal to operate meters until 9 or 10 p.m. weekdays, and all day Saturdays and Sundays, but Caponiti said the city could wind up with a net loss because extended meter hours could cut down on downtown merchants' business. In addition, he said, more DOT employes would be needed to police parking during the extra hours.