Aug 01, 2023
Stone Harbor’s parking take matching last year
Parking tickets were again under discussion at the most recent meeting of the Stone Harbor Borough Council, at which one member said about 98.5% of those using a new parking app got it right. Still,
Parking tickets were again under discussion at the most recent meeting of the Stone Harbor Borough Council, at which one member said about 98.5% of those using a new parking app got it right. Still, borough officers wrote close to 3,000 tickets this year.
Stone Harbor Police Chief Thomas Shutta told Borough Council that some people did not try to use the new parking system. In his report, he said officers issued 1,247 parking tickets in July.
Signs in and around Stone Harbor’s downtown at 96th Street let drivers know how to sign up for the Park Mobile app. Whether people did not notice the signs or for other reasons, the borough has seen a huge increase in parking tickets being issued this summer, the first year for the new system.
STONE HARBOR – With a new, digital-only system for this summer, revenue from parking meters is on track to match last year’s total of about $430,000.
That’s according to a report by Borough Council member Reese Moore at a recent meeting, at which he said most people parking in the downtown have used the Park Mobile app successfully.
Still, thousands did not this summer, with many drivers misunderstanding the system, not realizing the borough charged for parking in some areas or deciding to take a chance and save the cost and trouble of paying for parking through the app.
Stone Harbor saw a massive increase in the number of parking tickets issued since switching to the Park Mobile app this season, eliminating parking kiosks and meters in favor of having drivers pay for parking through their phones.
In a report to council at the meeting, Moore said there were 2,704 parking tickets written in Stone Harbor this year as of the beginning of August. Parking enforcement begins for the year in May. But borough records show 182,611 successful transactions using Park Mobile over the summer.
Moore said the numbers show a small percentage of those using the new parking system received a ticket.
“I don’t know if that’s entirely true,” added Stone Harbor Police Chief Thomas Shutta at the meeting, which he attended to provide council with its regular report on police activities. “Some of those summonses, I imagine a fair amount of them, are not using the system at all.”
Moore responded that the numbers still mean that 98.5% of people understand the parking system and are using it properly.
The spike in parking tickets brought statewide attention to the beach town, when the end of meters and parking kiosks brought a 1,600% increase in the number of parking tickets issued in May, climbing from 33 tickets in 2022 to 564 for the month this year.
News outlets in Philadelphia and North Jersey ran stories about the jump in tickets issued. At previous meetings, Shutta stood by the decision to keep writing tickets at many times the normal rate. Enough people were calling the municipal court Stone Harbor shares with its island neighbor Avalon that the borough agreed to cover the cost of an additional part-time court employee to handle the tickets.
Stone Harbor officials say the primary impetus for charging for parking downtown is to encourage turnover, so that there are spaces available for potential shoppers. The change will save tens of thousands of dollars in meter maintenance and in collecting the coins, with the parking app making money with a surcharge on each transaction.
Officials say they are not interested in raising money through parking fines, which run $34. As the number of complaints mounted, the borough decided to add additional signs in and around the downtown, and have officers help people download and use the app on their phones.
Enforcement is more efficient with the new system, according to borough employees familiar with the process, and police have stopped issuing warnings. While someone may be a little late to put another quarter in the meter while shopping or enjoying a snack downtown, money for more time can be added from anywhere on the app.
Shutta told council members his officers issued 102 motor vehicle summonses for July, along with three summonses for ordinance violations. There were 16 animal complaints, 18 accidents, two adults were arrested and officers issued 1,247 parking tickets.
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