North End drivers see huge spike in wrong-way parking citations

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - It's something you'll see all the time in the North End and in other parts of Boise.

But what you don't see all the time is tickets for doing it.

Boise Police are ramping up enforcement against parking vehicles against the flow of traffic on a city street. Many have been parking this way for years and it hasn't been a problem.

One of those people, June Schmitz, admitted to parking the wrong way. The 80-something year-old woman has lived in the same house in the North End since 1950. If you drive down the street and look out your window, you'll probably see one or two, or even three vehicles all lined up, each parked the wrong way.

"We all know in the North End that you're supposed to park going with the traffic," Schmitz said.

She says she parks the wrong way because she's on oxygen and it helps getting in and out of her home and vehicle.

Schmitz's son, Ray, emailed KBOI 2News over concerns about what he called a citation writing campaign.

Phone calls were placed and emails were sent requesting public records from the city. In August of 2012, 66 tickets were issued to drivers. But what about this summer? In August 2013, Boise PD says it's issued 223 tickets, which is three times as many citations.

Sergeant Kyle Christensen says complains from people who live in the neighborhood led to the ramped-up enforcement.

"They've taken the time to complain," Christensen said. "Not only to us, but also the city council, so if people are going to take the time to complain, we feel like we should take the time to respond to those complaints."

The city says it's not just handing out tickets because some neighbors consider wrong-way parking a nuisance. It's about being safe, police say.

Does Schmitz believe believe parking the wrong can be dangerous?

"No, not around here, I don't think it bothers anybody because everybody seemed to do it," she said. "But they don't do it anymore."

And that change is reflected in the numbers. In September, officers issued almost 100 citations - about half as many as the month before.

"I don't know that there's more or less of it, but we're going out and now enforcing that," Christensen said. "Now that we've started writing some parking tickets, we're seeing less of it, absolutely."

Schmitz said she's correcting her driving habit.

A ticket for parking the wrong way will set you back $40. You can appeal any citation in writing within 10 days. Schmitz said she'd paid her fine the next day.