8/6/2005New Orleans Creates Ex Post Facto Parking Meters
New Orleans, Louisiana City Council declares unlawfully issued parking tickets legal.
Are parking meters used to ensure motorists obey the law to keep traffic flowing, or are they used to generate municipal revenue? New Orleans, Louisiana's City Council made its position clear after unanimously issuing an ordinance on Thursday declaring parking tickets that had been issued contrary to the law since January to be legal -- after the fact.
"The city is losing millions of dollars," council member Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said. "We have to get on with collecting this money."
At the beginning of the year, New Orleans installed hundreds of new parking kiosks in an attempt to boost annual parking revenue by a third to $4.5 million. Instead of feeding individual meters, drivers must now walk to a six foot high green box that collects the money for several parking spaces. Instead of growing revenue, income from parking has plunged twenty percent.
Stuart Smith, a lawyer, also realized the city never changed the law to accommodate the "multi-space pay stations" or consulted with the public before installing them. Because the city issued thousands of parking tickets under a law that required the violation be recorded by an individual parking meter, the tickets issued in areas where the new meters were in operation were invalid.
Thursday's resolution changes the law after the fact. It orders that the new meter regulation, "is specifically ratified retroactively to Jan. 1, 2005" in "areas previously designated by this council as a metered space or otherwise regulated parking space."
In addition, Smith, a French Quarter resident, has said the 6-foot-high, "garish" meters were installed in that neighborhood without approval by the Vieux Carre Commission, and violate "the traditional architectural character of the Vieux Carre."Source: Meters made legal after the fact (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 8/6/2005)
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