Parking a headache for Old Town residents
Posted at: 09/27/2012 5:07 PM
| Updated at: 09/27/2012 6:20 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4
While historic Old Town is a tourist destination, it’s also home to a few dozen people. And striking a balance between the two can be tough.
One resident told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that he found himself ticketed and booted during the summer.
But the city said if people live in a retail area it’s 'renter beware.'
Old Town is where history is celebrated and parking can be free. The Old Town Merchants Association says there are 120 free two-hour parking spaces and 650 paid parking spaces in the plaza area.
"We got here early and pulled right up and there was plenty of on-street parking," said Lisa Watson who is visiting from Ohio.
But for those who call Old Town 'home,' parking can be tough.
"Really expensive and it's a headache," Giorgio Giannini said.
Giannini has lived in the plaza since January. And in four months during the summer, he said he raked up $500 in parking tickets.
"They mark your tires with chalk," he said.
The issue is some residents don’t have a parking permit or a residential parking lot nearby. So, from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Giannini, who’s a music producer and works from home, has to move his truck every two hours.
"I've heard a lot of people have left Old Town because of that issue," he said.
But Mark Shepherd, Security and Parking Division Manager for the city of Albuquerque, said he's not sure if it's the city hampering residents there.
Shepherd said city ordinance doesn’t allow for permit parking in Old Town. City ordinance does allow permit parking in the Nob Hill University of New Mexico area.
"Where you have a row of homes that front a group of businesses on Central let's say,” explained Shepherd. “The neighborhoods in those areas have banded together and petitioned the city to institute permit parking."
Shepherd said the city offers parking in their lots surrounding Old Town for about $35 a month. Some residents even work it out with their landlord to cover that cost, he said.
Giannini says those lots are just too far.
"There's people running on the roof-tops at night in this place, you know what I mean?" he said. "There's damage to vehicles, breaking and entering a lot."
The city said Giannini could start a petition, and if there’s enough support could go before the city council. The council would decide whether to change the ordinance for Old Town to allow permit parking. Giannini expressed interest in starting a petition.