BUZZ blog: Saving grace at the parking meterWhat I didn't know about Duluth parking meters.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Peter Passi and Brandon Stahl cover issues related to the city of Duluth. Follow BUZZ on Twitter.
Grace at the meter
Okay. Call me a downtown greenhorn, but I didn't realize that there's any grace period on parking meters in Duluth.
I learned about this at Monday's city council meeting, where John Simpson, chairman of the Duluth Parking Commission, explained why he and his colleagues recommended maintaining the one-hour limit on downtown parking meters. Commissioners apparently feared a longer limit would encourage parking abuses -- namely downtown workers, like me, tying up meters for inordinate periods of time.
Anyhow, in making his case, Simpson pointed out that motorists already receive- the benefit of a 10- to 12-minute grace period on expired meters. Apparently, the meter displays a steady 0:00 during this grace period. It only begins to flash and read "Expired" after the grace period has elapsed.
Sgt. Jim Lesar said the grace period is actually a bit shorter, typically between five and 10 minutes.
I thought you were fair game to receive a ticket the moment a meter ticks to zero. But I'm all for "kinder and gentler" enforcement.
Still, I'm looking forward to being able to buy an extra 20 minutes of meter time on assignment. Thanks, council, for boosting the maximum stay at a meter to one hour and 20 minutes Monday. One of those yellow envelopes can ruin the day.
Sgt. Lesar said it will take a while to print new stickers and reprogram the 800-plus meters affected by the change, but he expects to see the transition completed within the month.
Simpson estimates those extra 20 minutes won't come cheap either. He estimated the changeover will cost about $13,000.