A tale of two cities and their parking tickets

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A heads up for those stopping off in Newark on business. Parking fines are going up, and forgetting about that ticket will put a dent in your credit card or checking account.

Starting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, rates on city lots and parking meters will go up a dollar an hour for the first time since the late ’90s.

When adjusting for the cost of living, the increase is more than justified The kicker here is parking fines, which will rise from $20 to $35. Worse yet, if you forget about the ticket, that figure goes up to (ouch) $70. And don’t dawdle. You have only 15 days to pay up.

The revenue-hungry Council opted for a more aggressive rate increase as a way to hold down property tax increases as the post-Covid budget swelled. The college town gets upwards of a million dollars a year in parking revenues.

The problem here is that the city has come up empty in adding additional parking as it looked in vain for developers who would foot most of the bill.

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For the most part, there is ample parking in Newark once you know the ins and outs of city lots. The city also offers discounted monthly rate parking for businesspeople.

But the view that parking is difficult persists, and a restaurant visit Friday night did nothing to alter that perception. Even though the university is eerily quiet this time of year, parking at one lot appeared to be on the tighter side based on the number of vehicles circling the area.

It takes only one trip at a time when parking spaces are nonexistent to keep someone away for years while telling their friends about the experience. That’s not good news for restaurants and other businesses that would like to see more visits.

Interestingly enough, the opposite trend is taking place up I-95 in Wilmington.

After long-running parking snafus that, along with other issues, drove small businesses out of the city, Mayor Mike Purzycki is proposing lowering the cost of a parking ticket from $40 to $25.

Other changes are being made to deal with the enforcement nightmares that some encountered, along with an appeals process that was nearly impossible to navigate.

Wilmington and Newark have vastly different parking issues, but the message is clear. Wilmington is trying to improve things, and Newark is headed in the opposite direction.- Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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