New rules to make sure commuter parking passes stay with their intended owners are being considered by the Board of Selectmen as new parking monitoring equipment and payment options are set to be brought to town.
Proposed updates to parking rules were presented last week to the town’s top board. The town plans to implement a new system for the commuter parking lots as early as October, including using pay stations instead of the current scratch-off parking voucher system. The new machines will take cash and credit cards.
“The pay station is perhaps the more common approach,” Administrative Officer Karl Kilduff said, noting that neighboring towns have similar systems in place.
One major change, however, is intended on cracking down on drivers using daily parking permits not belonging to them. A new license plate reader will allow parking officials to scan plates and assure that the commuter parking permits are with the vehicles that they are registered to.
Kilduff said the town has received complaints from people on the waiting list for parking permits that the passes are being shared with people who have not paid the $345 annual fee. Parking passes, which are hung from rear view mirrors, are supposed to stay with the vehicles that were registered with the town office.
“We don’t want people moving permits around to people who don’t have them,” Kilduff said. “If you give it to someone else, that’s a problem. It’s been difficult to document.”
Preliminary discussion with the Board of Selectmen had the proposed penalty increased from $10 to $30 for parking offenses. A second parking pass violation in a month’s time would cause a parking pass to be revoked. Anyone wanting a new parking permit would have to go on the waiting list for a new permit.
Jim Cameron, a member of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said he likes that the town is using new technology, but he hopes the town will present riders with enough information on how to use the pay stations since commuters want to be able to get to the station, park and get to their trains on time. Not knowing how to operate the machines could cause delays, forcing people to miss their trains, he said.
“Commuters need to understand how it works and ultimately, they need to think of what’s best for the commuters and not the town,” he said.
Cameron also likes the idea of the license plate reader, but reminded residents that they can register up to three vehicles on an annual commuter permit
Kilduff said the draft rules will be discussed by the selectmen at their Aug. 26 meeting with the idea of having a public hearing on Sept. 9. Kilduff said town officials would like for the new system to go live on Oct. 1.