Andrew Fondakowski is careful to feed the meter in West Hartford, even if it means cutting his own feeding short.
“When you’re eating in a restaurant, you’ve got to hurry up and come out and pay it in the meter. So it’s a little difficult to do that,” said Fondakowski, of New Britain.
A recent Hartford Courant study by Stephen Busmeyer found that West Hartford diners are more likely to get slapped with tickets on Fridays and Saturdays during prime dining hours. (Read the complete Courant report here.)
“I’m not surprised about that at all. I guarantee that they stay and walk the beat till 10 o’clock at night — all the way through — and I think my ticket, when I got it, I was coming out at 9 o’clock and I had a ticket on my thing, right on my windshield, so, it happens,” said Fondakowski.
West Hartford officials told Busmeyer they’re not targeting a specific crowd, but added that some visitors don’t realize town meters keep running until 10 p.m.
The Courant reports expired meters and other parking violations brought in around $800,000 in fines in one year. Paid meters racked up an additional $860,000 in revenue.
Those figures will likely go up because meters are increasing from $1 an hour to $1.50 in the coming weeks.
“It’s putting a hole in people’s pockets, you know?” said Javaun Outar, who works at Sweet Frog on Main Street. He said he sees people getting tickets all the time and sometimes tries to help them.
“A lot of people, they get mad and stuff, you know? Even sometimes, I’m out here and I see the guys walking by, I’ll take money out of the tip jar and drop it in so they won’t get tickets,” said Outar.
Town officials said they need the fines and increased meter rates to keep West Hartford streets in tip-top shape. And while they’re annoying, Outar doesn’t think the fees will keep customers away.
“It’s kind of good for the town, because out of town people come in, but it’s bad for us. They’re increasing the rates,” he said.
Fox CT pointed out he was still in West Hartford on Friday night.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” he said.