A new Hartford Parking Authority initiative had Mitch Armen scratching his head recently. He snapped photos of an unusual nighttime sight on Hartford’s streets.
“I’ve suddenly seen a lot of Parking Authority cars and teams of people walking around,” said Armen, who lives on Main Street.
The parking enforcement crews normally work from about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Armen said those mysterious after-hours squads have ticketed about half a dozen people he knows — after 6 p.m. or on the weekends, when parking should be free.
“All of a sudden, they’re getting tickets slapped on their windshields in the evening when they don’t expect to pay for parking. That troubled me,” said Armen.
Eric Boone, CEO of the Hartford Parking Authority, said the cars cited were parked illegally. The ticketing is part of a new initiative to fine cars not “parked right tonight.” His crews started issuing tickets on April 24.
“There’s a series of issues. There’s parking in bus stops, parking in tow zones. There’s double parking, parking in crosswalks, parking in a fire hydrant [zone],” said Boone.
Boone said the main focus is to stop people from blocking city buses.
“I guess, traditionally, over the past number of months or years, there have been people parking there, through the evening, and the buses were forced to drop people off in active traffic because of the parkers,” said Boone, who stressed the new program is about pedestrian safety.
Armen isn’t buying it. He said he sees ticketers writing up what looks like perfectly placed cars and believes it’s a revenue-driven enterprise.
“The signs say no parking except for 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Looking at the signs, it does not look illegal. But the signs are always confusing to begin with,” said Armen.
Boone said making the parking rules clearer is also part of this program. He said new signs are on order.