DECATUR, Ala. - - The Decatur Police Department is adding an extra layer of enforcement to their downtown parking ordinance, and it seems to be catching drivers off guard.
Signs for two-hour parking are visible downtown. In response to criticism for the $25 tickets being written, Emily Long with the Decatur Police Department says, "We always enforce that. The Decatur police department enforces all city and local laws within Decatur. So normally, you’ll see patrolled officers enforcing those parking spots and now we are just using crossing guards.”
DeAnn Meely, owner of DeAnn's Art Studio and Gallery told us, "I'm under the impression that the city is trying to grow, increase business, deck the halls... fa la la la la, and 8-5 seems like a long time. And I know, laws are laws but it would have been helpful for them to notify merchants. I would have no idea until I found a ticket."
The Decatur Police Department's explanation for increased parking patrol is fairly simple. "This is for really holiday enforcement and the reason we're doing this is to help those customers out, those that might have a hard time walking or have some mobility issues. Really by having a circulating two-hour parking, we are not only making this better for the customer who wants to get close to the business but also for the business owner to help circulate new business in the area," says Long.
While some people are upset about the ordinance being enforced, others are thankful. Lexi Sain, who works at deLoain New York Salon and Spa said "I'm happy that it's finally being enforced. I just think it's going to be a shock to a lot of the employees and storekeepers up and down Bank because it's not been enforced until now, but maybe there will be not as much clutter."
The City of Decatur does have alternative parking lots for drivers to who will be in the downtown area for more than two hours.