Over the years, the folks at City Hall in Fairmont have generally made good decisions, in our opinion. Certainly there have been controversial issues. We haven't always agreed with everything proposed or implemented, but we could understand the reasoning in each case. This is no longer true.
Last Friday, with poor timing and little fanfare, the city announced it would begin enforcing the two-hour parking limit downtown, starting Monday. And not just along Downtown Plaza, but also numerous side streets. Adding insult to injury, the city is imposing the rather stiff fine of $25 per violation. This is rather like driving 5 mph over the posted speed limit and getting a $1,000 fine.
What on earth is the city thinking? For at least two decades, there has not been any parking enforcement downtown. And there has not been any serious trouble as a result. It may occasionally be tough to find a spot, but not in any way that would be a detriment to shoppers. They might have to walk a block to get to their store of choice.
What now IS a detriment to visiting downtown is the fresh enforcement and utterly stupid $25 fine. Complaints are rolling in. And you can imagine the ire Fairmont is going to inspire when people from out of town start getting their first tickets. If someone drives up from Iowa, say, spends a little time shopping, then meets friends for lunch downtown, that could easily take more than two hours. If that person walks back outside and finds a ticket, they won't be coming back. And we won't blame them.
The City Council needs to immediately address this issue and revoke the authority for parking enforcement. This is an experiment that took exactly one day to fail.