News Column

No Free Parking: Las Vegas' Most-ticketed Lots

March 26, 2013

Conor Shine, Las Vegas Sun

Before issuing parking tickets at the City Centre Place office building in downtown Las Vegas, enforcement staff must first download a manifest listing who's paid and who hasn't from a pair of multibay meters that cover the dozens of spaces in the garage.

But the high volume of cars in and out means by the time the enforcement officer gets around to writing individual citations, some expired meters have been paid.

This flaw in the technology coupled with the high traffic led to nearly twice as many tickets being issued to cars parked there than any other spot in Las Vegas in 2012.

Many of the 4,867 citations were overturned due to the technology issues, but Las Vegas officials hope the installation of a new set of meters at the garage and around downtown will lead to fewer bad tickets, and fewer tickets overall, being issued.

"We want to make parking easier so there's less tickets given out," Las Vegas Parking Services Manager Brandy Stanley said.

In June, the city will begin replacing the 1,216 coin-operated parking meters downtown and near University Medical Center with 233 multibay meters, a $1.4 million project approved last month by the City Council.

The few existing multibay meters, such as the one at City Centre Place, also will be replaced. Newer technology means parking enforcement officers will be able to see in real time whether a space is expired.

The new meters, which cover multiple parking spaces each, also will accept credit cards, meaning no more searching in the cushions for quarters.

Their presence is expected to alleviate parking frustrations in the city's busy core, especially near areas such as the Regional Justice Center, where five of the top six most-ticketed spots in the city can be found.

"One of the problems is it takes so long to get into the court and there are delays. People will pay what they think they need and it's not enough," Stanley said.

That will be less of a problem with the new meters, she said, because people tend to overpay when they're not limited by how many quarters they have.

"A lot of times people get parking tickets because they don't have quarters. In my opinion that's a bad ticket," she said. "People who pay with credit cards tend to overpay. They'll pay for the amount of time they need as opposed to the amount of time they have change for."

Stanley said she expected ticket revenues to drop, but that will be offset by about $300,000 the city expects to gain from increased payment and usage of the meters.