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Irwin council considers upping ticket fines

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Irwin council hopes to keep motorists from abusing free two-hour parking places on Main Street by increasing the penalty for parking violations.

The borough's parking tickets have a $10 fine, but council plans to discuss increasing the price of each additional parking ticket accrued in one day along Main Street.

Council president John Cassandro said the board plans to consider keeping the first violation at $10 but making a second ticket, and each additional parking ticket, at least $25.

“They wouldn't get the elevated fine until, maybe, an hour after their first ticket,” Cassandro said. “We have to define the specifics of how it would work.”

The elevated fines are part of Irwin council's plans to crack down on anyone parking more than two hours per day in the borough's free parking places.

Council removed meters in June 2011 in favor of free two-hour parking spots in order to encourage more shopping in the borough's Main Street business district.

It is not uncommon for communities to issue parking tickets each hour, after the first violation, according to Dan Wensel, officer in charge at the Irwin Police Department.

Communities must specify in an ordinance how often parking enforcement may issue tickets after the initial violation, Wensel said.

“Council is working with the solicitors to get the language down,” Wensel said.

Councilwoman Gail Macioce said higher fines could discourage motorists from abusing the system.

“If they see a $25 ticket, it'll stop,” Macioce said. “There's plenty of long-term parking in downtown Irwin.”

The borough offers long-term parking passes for $17.50 per month, along with metered spots in the borough's parking lots, manager Mary Benko said.

The borough's solicitors, Todd Turin and Alan Berk, plan to strengthen the wording of Irwin's free Main Street parking ordinance by specifying each motorist is entitled to a total of two hours of free parking on Main Street, not two hours per parking place, Cassandro said.

The ordinance only specifies the borough offers free two-hour parking on Main Street.

“We just need to define how parking needs to take place on Main Street,” Cassandro said. “Some people think if they move their car to another place, they get another two hours, and that's not our intention.”

Council plans to discuss Main Street parking during its May 2 meeting.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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