teresa wardyn, a community service technician with the salina police department, checks cars monday morning that are parked in the 100 block of n. santa fe. (photo by tom dorsey / salina journal) | buy journal photos

electronic parking tickets





3/30/2010

by david clouston salina journal


teresa wardyn’s job for the salina police department formerly involved a fairly efficient, if rudimentary, method of identifying which drivers had exceeded the marked parking time limits in downtown salina — a chalk mark on a back tire.

when it rained, though, chalking tires was a waste of time because the rain washed off the marks. wardyn and her fellow meter maid, kim vincent — who are referred to by the department as community service technicians — used to work in the police department office on rainy days, helping the records department.

now, a new automated citation process using handheld electronic ticket writers not only lets the duo work rain or shine, it eliminates the need to re-enter data from paper tickets into the police and municipal court system and helps eliminate data inaccuracies.

it also enables the officers to better track repeat parking violators.

the automated system has been in use for less than a month, and the two technicians are using the system to give warning tickets only, for now.

police lt. russ lamer, traffic unit commander, said the two won’t begin issuing actual citations until the city installs new signs in parking lots. parking times in city-owned lots downtown and on the street will increase to three hours, lamer said.

all eight-hour parking downtown will change to unlimited parking.

the automated system, which was purchased for $23,000 from cardinal tracking, includes two handheld ticket writers, each resembling a small adding machine with a computer screen. information about an individual vehicle is entered by the operator, and the printer prints out a citation from a roll of thermal paper, similar to a credit card receipt.

the citation is tucked into a small yellow envelope like those used now for written citations. the envelope is placed under the vehicle’s windshield wiper. the $2 citation can be paid by placing the payment into the envelope and depositing the envelope in one of the outdoor collection boxes located throughout downtown, or it can be mailed to the court.

the ticket writers also include a digital camera that let an operator photograph the vehicle being cited. information about local stolen vehicles is added to the machine’s database so that when the operator enters a tag number, the machine will note whether it’s been reported stolen, lamer said.

lamer declined to say exactly how the system detects that a car hasn’t been moved within the allotted time period, and cardinal tracking’s web site also doesn’t describe the operating process in detail. however, each ticket writer at the end of the day is placed in a charging cradle both to recharge and download the data that’s been collected that day.

“there is a system in place where the officer goes by, inputs the tag number and when they come by again, the system will tell whether that vehicle was there before,” lamer said. he said the system is not based on global positioning system data.

there may be times that the system is fooled into thinking a vehicle has not moved when the owner has left and returned to park in the same spot, lamer said.

“that’s what the court system is there for. anyone may appear in court to contest their ticket,” he said.

“from the way the system is set up, if our community service technicians are diligent about how they’re performing their duties, that will not be a problem,” lamer said.

tickets, payments and late fees are tracked by the system software.

parking tickets produced more than $23,200 in revenue for the city in 2009, according to municipal court records.

jane eilers, court supervisor, said a clerk will still have to open envelopes and count and record the $2 payments, but the new citation process should shorten the time that clerk spends entering data and completing the process, which takes about an hour a day now.

“i just came back from a court clerks conference and the buzz was about how great e-ticketing is, and about how the accuracy and efficiency has made a tremendous change in how business is handled,” she said.

n reporter david clouston can be reached at 822-1403 or by e-mail at [email protected].






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21st century salina coming says….

a multilevel parking garage charges to park by the hour or day and the fees pay for the structure. it’s worth it for most people to park out of the rain, snow, heat and ice.

4/1/2010


says….

parking meters? really? its salina ks…not kansas city..come on salina.

4/1/2010


more ? says….

our government is supposed to keep us safe – so police are of value even if they do not make money off tickets. why are they patrolling parking? to keep us safe of the guy that parks there 20 extra minutes. and limited parking? if the stores had their employees park out back it would reduce the problem. why does the city have to maintain a system that cost the taxpayers for the poor decision to have stores cramed together with no parking? would you build a restaurant on an island??

3/31/2010


says….

shop the malls! let down town salina kill itself off.

3/31/2010


says….

hey jim hanson… meter maid, meter maid, meter maid! what do you call a person who watches a parking meter… a meter maid!

3/31/2010


says….

to anonymous, all smart small towns have pulled the meters because towns were losing the people and the stores. people did not want to pay to park down town when they could go to the malls/strip mall and park for free. hutchinson has not had meters in over 30 years. hays pulled them out about 20 years ago. wichita has them but they are a city and not a town, more people work, shop, and live down town wichita that is why they have them. have not seen cars circling the blocks for hours looking for a spot to park. supply and demand, and how hard it is to park down the street and walk a little?

3/31/2010


anonymous says….

why don’t we just use parking meters like every other city? seems like a no-brainer to me.

3/30/2010


says….

i seriously dont understand how the “meter maids” are going to really be able to tell if you move your vehicle from one place to another….don’t think that the folks downtown who work there just take their breaks at about the times the ladies come around….sounds like a real waste of taxpayer money and time…

3/30/2010


life resident says….

myopic businessman, who should build these multi level parking garages? the taxpayers? they don’t currently pay for parking at any other retail location.

the perfect solution would be to assess a substantial portion of the enforcement costs to the merchants. want a multi level garage? why should that be any different than paying “specials” on new developments?


3/30/2010


jd says….

i think this whole thing is ridiculouse

3/30/2010


jim hanson says….

i hate meter maids the term is offensive

3/30/2010


makes “cents” says….

pay your fines in loose pennies and nickels.

3/30/2010


myopic businessmen says….

building a multilevel parking garage or two in the downtown area would solve the problem of parking and would attract more people to spend more time and spend more money downtown. this would also provide some protection during storms. the downtown business owners are myopic!

3/30/2010


get your calculator says….

definition of stupid: paying two people a total of $60,000 a year to chase people away from downtown businesses while collecting a paltry $23,000 in revenue from parking tickets! any way you look at this with a calculator, it doesn’t add up!

3/30/2010


life resident says….

perhaps the merchants should be involved with parking enforcement just the way the mall does.

they should fund the effort. after all, they are the ones who benefit.


3/30/2010


fred says….

i would bet that it costs more money to keep police employed than the money they generate from giving speeding tickets. maybe we should do away with the police?

3/30/2010


downtown worker says….

i agree with the above posts. doesnt make sense to pay two ladies 8hrs a day, plus the money spent on the new system to only make $23k revenue a yr! working & shopping would be much easier downtown w/out this extra hassle of parking time limits. its already hard enough to do business down here.

3/30/2010


city stupidity says….

would this be like texting and driving? one person trying to drive and enter tags at the same time sounds dangerous to me.

3/30/2010


taxpayer says….

salina downtown inc has allot to do with the parking tickets. i agree that the city needs to abandon this practice. what a waste of taxpayer monies.

3/30/2010


just sayin’ says….

must be a democrat plan. or would this be the republican math. i get so confused anymore about which party is which. at any rate, forget how much it costs, just focus on the revenue it creates and all will be well!

3/30/2010


kyle says….

okay, i will explain it to you. giving parking tickets isn’t meant as a means to generate money, but a way to regulate the use of the limited number of parking spaces downtown, and to help make those spaces available to people wanting to shop. there are other parking areas available for longer term parking for those working in the area. if none of the spaces were regulated, then everyone would be parking directly in front of the stores and leave their vehicles there all day while they were at work, and shoppers wouldn’t have any place to park but the longer term areas that are farther away from the store fronts. i hope this helps for those of you that couldn’t figure it out.

3/30/2010


someone explain why? says….

$2 ticket?? – an employee that cost the city $1000 a week (estimate w/ benefits) plus a cushman, gas and the elctronic scanner, county clerk labor minus the 23,000 in revenue = a loss of about $50,000 a year…. and people don’t shop there because of this nuisance?? i just don’t understand how government works….

3/30/2010


jay turn. says….

if i were a store owner down town i’d be outraged at this. ever wonder why people spend more money at the corporate stores? this is a good reason. target, wally world, lowe’s, none of the stores on south 9th have meter maids. what a terrible waste of money. salina should be using that money to catch real criminals.

3/30/2010


becky says….

i think it is ridiculous to have 2 hr parking downtown,anyone wanting to park and walk and shop has to run back and move their vehicle, it’s ridiculous. i have never shopped long there because of this reason. i have often wanted to park at one end and shop up one side and back down the other but i refuse to do so because of this.so in the 8 yrs i have lived in the area,i go to the store i need to and leave.

3/30/2010


kj says….

so let me get this straight. parking tix brought in 23k last year. but we spent the same 23k on a new system along with 2 salaries and i assume their carts run on gas. sounds like we can get rid of some of our debt by making all parking unlimited and getting rid of the “meter maids”.

3/30/2010


says….

wow they still have meter maids? have not seen that in 20 years, talk about going back in time! move to kansas, move back in time!

3/30/2010


me says….

i’m sure anyone with a brain will use the internet to figure out how it works.

3/30/2010



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