At-large City Councilor Julia Mejia introduced a proposal for income-adjusted fines for parking violations at a recent Boston City Council meeting.
According to Mejia, parking tickets should be reflective of Boston residents’ financial situations. She believes that residents shouldn’t be placed in a position where they’re forced to choose between paying parking tickets or putting food on the table.
In 2018, parking ticket fines increased across eleven City parking violations including an increase from $25 to $40 for overstaying the meter. Because many low-income Bostonians live in car-dependent areas, accessing the Greater Boston area becomes more difficult when paired with the increased parking violation fines.
The proposal was met with scrutiny from other city councilors who believed the best approach to the issue isn’t through income-reduced parking tickets.
City Councilor Lydia Edwards (District 1) agreed that parking violation fines deserve closer consideration to determine the impact they have on Boston residents. However, she noted that more suitable approaches could involve “ticket not tow” programs or interest free payment plans for paying off parking tickets.
According to City Councilor Matt O’Malley (District 6), focusing on creative ways to address the city’s parking through means such as more metered parking would better address the issue. He also suggested that alternative transportation such as increased bike networks and bike shares should be considered.
Mejia’s proposal would potentially entail bringing your income tax report to City Hall in order to pay a sliding scale for your ticket, worrying some who believe this would only complicate the process of paying parking tickets.
In a recent NorthEndWaterfront.com poll, 84% of participating readers voted against this change to income-adjusted parking tickets. Read what some local residents had to say in the comments section.