Albany unveils new parking ticket enforcement

The city of Albany's new parking enforcement system is designed to increase transparency and better track repeat ticket offenders.
The new enhanced database will force those with thousands of dollars in unpaid fines to be held accountable, and allow the city to track every ticket from the time it is written, until it is paid or dismissed.

"The ultimate goal is to have a parking system that is perceived as being fair and transparent," says Albany City Treasurer Kathy Sheehan.

The new handheld ticket writers are essentially small computers, that automatically scan New York registration stickers, cutting down on the amount of data public service officers have to manually enter into the ticket system.

The handheld is also capable of taking up to three pictures of every violation.

"We think it will really help with enforcement," says Sheehan. "When people ask to go to court, if we can have an image of a car parked in front of a fire hydrant, there's no dispute anymore."

Once a registration sticker is scanned, the handheld also shows if the vehicle's owner has any outstanding parking tickets.

Tuesday, News 10 went out on the street with an Albany Public Service Officer, who found a violater parked too close to a hydrant, and also discovered the driver had $600 in unpaid tickets!

However, that's not an isolated incident.  When it comes to the heavy hitters in the city of Albany, the biggest offenders have more than $2,000 each in unpaid fines, with the top ten offenders totally more than $14,000!

Some say ticket enforcement is just another way for the city to collect money.

"I think that should only go so far, and we should think about some other ways of getting revenue for the city, rather than tons of parking tickets," says Jackie Shapiro.

While Sheehan acknowledges the city is not a collection agency, she says rules are rules.

"While it's unfortunate and frustrating when people get tickets, if they are not parked legally, then they're going to be fined, and we're going to collect that revenue."

Sheehan says in further efforts to hold those with outstanding parking fines accountable, the city has the capability to put offenders on a scoff notice with the Department of Motor Vehicles, preventing people from re-registering a vehicle until they pay up.
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