Motorists receive warnings during adjustment period with new parking rules

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By Philip Sean Curran
Staff Writer

Princeton has not been issuing tickets for parking meter violations in order to provide a grace period for the car-driving public to get acclimated to new parking rules and other related changes, officials said.

This fall, municipal officials installed high-tech parking meters, raised meter fees in most places, and limited when someone could re-park on the same block, among other actions.

Town engineer Deanna Stockton said the decision to issue a warning instead of a ticket was made “to give time for people to adjust to the changes.”

“We also were working out some of the glitches in the technology,” she said. “I think we’re getting to the point where that’s all resolved.”

Councilman David Cohen said some meters have messages that do not fit on the screen.

“I think as much as it being a matter of citizens sort of getting used to the newness, it’s also a matter of the municipality trying to clean up implementation glitches like that,” he said.

The grace period is expected to continue through the end of the year, Stockton said.

“We realized people are getting used to the system, it’s the holiday season, we didn’t want to ruin anyone’s day,” Mayor Liz Lempert said about the warning step. “I think we recognize most people are trying to follow the rules and maybe make a mistake. We’re trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, give out the warnings and hopefully build some good will so people get it right the next time.”

Lempert did not have a dollar amount for how much ticket revenue Princeton is losing during the grace period.

“We know we’re taking a loss from it, but we felt it was important to have this period where it was going to be a learning period for everybody,” she said.

The mayor said motorists should expect to get a ticket if they do not put any money in the meter.

Council members raised the cost of on-street parking throughout most of the town.

“We know there’s going to be a certain amount of unhappiness about the increase in the rates, but we don’t see forgiveness of violations as a tool for easing people into the new rates,” Cohen said.