When Your Community Speaks, Listen

By Matthew Hulme, CAPP, MPA

When meeting with community partners such as business councils, neighborhood advocacy groups, and resident coalitions, I don’t often hear, “We’d love to see more parking tickets issued around here.” So I tend to take notice when I do. Last time, my hope was that my constant blustering about how important effective parking enforcement is to the community was finally taking hold. Ultimately, the primary complaint prompting the request for heavier handed enforcement was related to a much bigger problem: criminal activity associated with loud parties going on late into the night. I know this is not just a problem in my city, as many areas are experiencing the same types of unruly parties, particularly with the Coronavirus shuttering typical gathering places.

If you think this is merely a police issue, you are likely wrong. Non-local party participants require parking just like any other customer. With this in mind, parking managers need to work collaboratively with the police to address these customers in a way that may be counter-intuitive.

The specifics will vary by the particular situation, but we are working in several ways to assist our police department in curbing activities that are detrimental to neighborhood quality-of-life. Specifically, we are helping facilitate additional “No Parking” zones and signage, focusing enforcement efforts on safety related violations such as double parking and blocking alleys, and partnering with the police neighborhood liaison unit to safely work together on parties that are causing disturbances. Time will tell how effective our collective efforts will be in curbing troublesome activities, but we are showing the neighborhood that we have heard their collective voices.

Matthew Hulme, CAPP, MPA, is parking services supervisor with the City of Cincinnati.