Image: Live parking enforcement in Owosso

The City of Owosso is starting a new parking enforcement system that is designed to be more accurate after chalking tires was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

The policy of chalking tires to enforce parking restrictions has been declared unconstitutional so local cities are thinking of new ways on how to enforce parking.

“We need people to be able to have a place to park and that’s a reality,” Nicholas Pidek, co-founder of Foster’s Coffee and Owosso City Councilman said.

Pidek said they must find a better way to enforce parking.

“We need a way to make sure people don’t just park their cars and sit and walk away for the whole day,” Pidek said.

Starting Monday, April 29th, Owosso is implementing a live tire system through an electronic handheld device.

Kevin Lenkart, Owosso Chief of Police said, it’s more accurate than chalking tires and no cars are touched. He said that the live tire is like the parking enforcement officer, the license plate of the vehicle is put into the system with the location of the valve stem on the tire.

Lenkart said the timestamp is based on the first position of the valve stem and if it has not moved in two hours, the citation will be issued.

Lenkart said enforcing the two-hour limit on parking spaces is imperative to the downtown Owosso economy.

According to Lenkart, each parking space in Owosso generates over $11,000 to local businesses each year.

“That revenue goes to the businesses, it doesn’t go to the city of Owosso, so keeping cars there you’re not allowing other patrons to come in and spend there. People buying goods, and eating at restaurants within our community,” Lenkart said.

Some residents are not happy about the new live tire system.

Pidek said those people should look into the plenty of long-term parking options. He said this is a way to keep a thriving downtown.

“It’s all based on perception. For those that are upset, I would say come visit Owosso and see that there’s not an issue with parking. You haven’t been here, and the residents know that, and the people of Owosso know that,” Pidek said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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