With football season starting next week and the first home game for the Ole Miss Rebels a little more than two weeks away, the City of Oxford is preparing for the football crowd by proposing a raise in parking fines on The Square to combat illegal parking.
The University of Mississippi recently changed it’s parking policy on campus for football game days, only allowing fans who pay for parking passes to get on campus. This move –– which will force many fans who usually park on campus to look for other parking places –– has caused concern for the city of Oxford and city planners.
“(Regarding) the changes in the parking policy for the football games on campus, there was a concern that a lot of he people that used to park on campus are going to look for other places to park. And one of the places they may look to park would be on The Square,” City Planning Director Tim Akers said. “There is a three hour (parking) time limit on The Square. We felt that the current fines … wouldn’t be effective enough to get people to move their cars after three hours.”
Currently, parking fines on game days are the same as every other day. The first offense is $10, the second offense is $25 and the third offense is $50. After the third violation, a vehicle can be towed.
One of the stated goals of the managed parking in the downtown area is to have at least a 15 percent vacancy rate, Akers said.
The proposal to raise parking fines on The Square came about when the Downtown Parking Commission reached out to parking management consultants late last year. At the time, a decision was made that the best way to ensure the vacancy rate remained at 15 percent and the three hour time limit would not be affected was by raising fines on game days.
If the proposal is voted on and passed by the Board of Aldermen, game day parking violation fines on The Square would be raised to $50 for the first offense, $75 for the second offense, and $100 for the third offense. After the third violation, a vehicle can be towed.
The hours the proposed ordinance would be in affect are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on game days. The proposal was been given to the Board of Aldermen to review, and it is expected to be considered by the Board on August 20 or September 3.
There will be some help for motorists in the future. A three story parking garage will be built in a lot behind Oxford City Hall and will have 340 parking spaces.
Proposed fine increases would only effect parking on The Square. Parking fines on game day will remain the same anywhere off of The Square.
“The ticket pricing in Oxford, meaning what the Oxford Police Department will enforce, has not gone up,” Oxford Chief of Police Joey East said. “Anywhere else in Oxford, it’s going to be the same as it always would be. We are going to be enforcing it.” –– Justin Taylor, senior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
Email Justin Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org