Businesses Say Increased Parking Fines Could Affect Shopping
COLUMBIA - Business owners in downtown Columbia said Thursday they are concerned an increase in parking fines could hurt their customers. Parking fines are set to increase by five dollars at the beginning of March. That means anyone who gets a ticket for parking illegally in a garage or at a parking meter will have to pay $10 instead of $5 for the ticket.
Some local business owners said this could be a concern for their customers who shop and forget to refill the parking meters. The owner of My Secret Garden on Broadway said some shoppers walk from store to store for more than two hours. The meters have a two-hour time limit.
A spokesperson for the City of Columbia said the increased fines may actually help shoppers downtown. Director of Communications Toni Messina said the fines were raised to make sure customers who want to get into stores can park in the spots instead of having cars fill the spaces for a long time.
The increased fine amount could raise as much as $100,000 for general use for the City of Columbia.