Getting strict on the square

Posted on Jan 24 2013 - 11:15pm by Lacey Russell

Oxford officials have installed improvements to the city’s existing laws to ease the Square’s ongoing parking difficulties.

File Photo

File Photo

After discarding the paid-parking system of its “Plan A,” The Downtown Parking Advisory Council decided to go with its “Plan B.”

Using cameras powered by License Plate Recognition software, the newly hired Standard Parking group is charged with enforcement of the two-hour parking limit on the Square.

License Plate Recognition software is a camera that records the license plate and position of a vehicle’s tires. The first time a vehicle remains parked for more than two hours, the violation is free, and the violator will receive a letter explaining the fine process for issuing tickets.

The second time a violation occurs, a $10 ticket will be served, followed by $25 for the third offense, then $50 for the fourth.

The letter also relays that $10 is added with each month the ticket goes unpaid.

The fifth offense, however, results in the placement of a boot on the vehicle. A $75 fee is needed to remove the boot, plus the accrued fines.

Plan B also extends the hours during which the two-hour limit will be in effect.The hours are now from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

This plan is not popular with one restaurant manager.

“Parking on the Square is miserable,” said John Allgood, manager at Old Venice Pizza. “It’s miserable for my employees because they can never find a parking spot, and I think it keeps people from coming to the Square because they have a difficulty finding a spot,” Allgood said. “When they find a decent spot, they have to worry about if they have to be out of there in two hours,” he said.

“That’s not necessarily a whole lot of time to shop and eat. It seems like they have to pick one or the other.”

Electrical engineering junior Marcus Barnes is in favor of the parking limit during the day.

“If you’re going to the Square to eat and not to party or to a bar, two hours is (a) good idea to me,” Barnes said.

“But later in the day, two-hour parking isn’t enough.”

Mathematics sophomore Ashton Boone expressed his favor for the parking limit.

“The average person shouldn’t spend longer than two hours on the Square anyway — it shouldn’t take you three or four hours to sit down and eat a meal,” Boone said.

“If there are big events hosted by organizations or some type of group, officials on the Square should extend the two-hour period to meet accommodations,” he said.

“But for the most part, I don’t see a problem with the two-hour limit.”