Most cities don’t even make the data public when it comes to the parking citations they issue and fines they receive. There is little or no regulation in the industry, and the only information we have is from several independent surveys, and a few scattered journalism exposes.
Here are 25 parking ticket facts:
1. Every year, the average American spends 17 hours driving around and looking for a parking space.
2. Studies estimate that the combined cost of that wasted time, fuel, emissions, etc. adds up to a startling $73 billion every year!
3. While we’re not exactly certain how much revenue Sacramento generates from parking tickets, we can see an example in the city of Los Angeles, which brings in at least $160 million spread out over 2.65 million parking tickets in each fiscal year. (About 56,000 tickets are disputed and overturned in LA every year, negating the revenue.)
4. The motivations behind issuing parking tickets aren’t always lawful. For instance, in New York City, a study found that hundreds of drivers were issued tickets adding up to more than $2 million – even though they hadn’t parked illegally.
5. According to estimates, 99% percent of car trips in the U.S. begin and end in a free parking space – including our own driveways, garages, free lots at work, school or shopping, as well as free street parking.
6. The average automobile is in use only 5% of the time and parked the remaining 95%.
7. The availability of lots, free parking, or accessible street parking are a big boon for retailers, too. In fact, curbside parking meters were first used by an Oklahoma City department store owner 1935, as he wanted to insure turnover so his customers would always be able to find a space.
8. Parking policy experts suggest that store owners and developers add enough spaces to handle car traffic for the 30th busiest shopping hour for the entire year – the weekend before Christmas.
9. When it comes to free street parking, 40-60% of all parkers overstay the posted time limits.
Forget about Los Angeles, New York City, and Oklahoma – tell us about parking tickets in Sacramento!
10. Well, like many municipalities, Sacramento doesn’t make their data on parking tickets and fines readily available. But we do know that one of the advantages to Sacramento (you could find street parking in downtown and midtown A LOT easier than in other cities like San Francisco) took a turn for the worse with the new arena deal.
11. In fact, when the Sacramento City Council voted to approve the downtown arena deal, the city factored in raising their net parking revenues by as much as 50% over the next 7 years.
12. Part of the plan to pay for the arena financing deal (35-50% of the revenue for bond repayments) is through a steady increase in both meter and garage parking rates over the next several years.
13. This increase is expected to raise the cost for metered parking to $3 over the next four years and the cost of garage parking to $5.
14. That net increase should top out with an additional $7.5 million in revenues in 2021 alone!
15. Before the arena went up and widespread downtown redevelopment, Sacramento had about 4,300 parking meters. But they plan on adding new meters in midtown and downtown over the next few years until they have about 6,000 meters.
16. To gain additional parking (and parking citation) revenue, Sacramento is also extending regular meter hours past 6 p.m., taking advantage of people going out to dinner, ball games, concerts, and events downtown.
17. The city has also started to introduce 6,000 smart meters, which take credit cards as well as coins. These meters reset to zero time once the car pulls away, eliminating the opportunity for someone else to park there for free for the remaining time.
18. Sacramento even rolled out 11 new code enforcement vehicles that can you’re your vehicle digitally instead of having to manually chalk your tire. The parking vehicles are equipped with cameras, sensors, and on-board computers that can survey and mark cars on either side of the street simultaneously. The computer will even register if you have an outstanding warrant or tickets, making it easier to boot your car!
19. But not every dollar from your parking tickets has gone to the City of Sacramento. In 2010, the State of California added a $12.50 mandatory surcharge to each parking ticket on the state as part of the California State Budget Act.
20. But the City of Sacramento is just one of several entities that control and make money from parking. In fact, the city has rights to only 24% of all parking spots within a half-mile of the new arena.
21. Private companies, the state, other parking facilities, and even the Kings own the rest of the parking spots downtown. As part of the arena deal, the city had to turn over 3,900 of its downtown parking spots to the Kings, who demolished about 25% of them to make room for the arena.
22. Some would argue that parking regulations and citations are purposely complex to maximize profit from unsuspecting motorists.
23. Those allegations aside, you can find all of Sacramento’s parking enforcement stipulations under Title 10 and Title 12 of Sacramento City Code.
24. A new parking app is helping Sacramento residents cope with all of this parking ticket madness. SacPark.org was launched by the city and helps people view available spaces and even reserve them before they arrive.
25. So if you’re thinking of taking your car out for a spin in Sacramento now and stopping at your favorite restaurant or store, here are just some of the more than 40 parking fines and citations that might snag you:
Posted No Parking
No Parking Certain Hours
Over Time (Posted time limits)
Red Curb or Bus Zone
Passenger Loading Zone (White)
Green Zone - 15 Min Maximum
Blue Zone - Disabled Parking Only
Temporary Construction Zones (Portable Signs)
Police Vehicles Only
Parking in Alleys
Over Lines in Parking Space
Angle Parking, Marked Space
Failure to Turn Handle
Parking on Private Property Without Consent
Parking on Vacant Property with For Sale Sign
Parking on City Property
Displaying Permit on Vehicle Other than Assigned
Use of Visitor Permit for Commuter Parking
Damage to Mall Surface (No Drip Pan)
Displaying a Vehicle for Sale, Rent or Lease on Street
Be careful where you park in Sacramento, folks!