By Mimi Wood, Island Eye News Staff Writer
The Isle of Palms received a bit of a black eye in the media, both social and otherwise, after a parking ticket was issued on June 18, to a car parked within one of the new ‘kiosk’ lots at Front Beach.
After receiving a $50 parking ticket in a formerly manned, now self-service kiosk lot, adjacent to the Public Safety Building, Jason Leviner, from Summerville, presented his case to the court of public opinion. Day-tripping with his family, Leviner paid the appropriate amount at the kiosk, and placed his receipt in the windshield of his car.
What Leviner failed to do was place his validation right side up, so that the date and time stamp could be read. Instead, the ticketing officer saw the side of the receipt that reads, in bold red type, “OTHER SIDE UP”. The date and time stamp was face down; it was not visible.
Unable to see if the receipt was in fact valid, the issuing officer was simply following protocol in issuing a citation. Certainly, it is not unheard of for day trippers to attempt to illegally reuse a previously issued parking validation, and thereby save themselves $8 to $10 a day.
Leviner attempted to resolve the case with the IOPPD on the spot. However, as is the case almost universally, an officer cannot invalidate, void or dispose of any citation once it is written. So Leviner took his case public, resulting in a media kerfuffle.
From April 23, 2016 until June 19, 2016, fifty-seven similar citations have been issued. Those who presented their citation to the Clerk of Court, with a valid, paid parking receipt had their tickets dismissed, some via email.
Daytrippers in the parking lot who were randomly surveyed by the Island Eye on June 24 experienced varying degrees of difficulty with the kiosks. A couple from Columbia had no problem what-so-ever. A family from Huger complained of mechanical difficulties with the kiosk, and lamented that the kiosk did not dispense $2 change they were due from the $10 bill they inserted. The vehicle parked next to them was ticketed; the date and time stamp face down, as was the case with Leviner.
Finally, when asked if they had difficulty using a kiosk, one young couple exclaimed, “We got lucky! Someone on the way out gave us their validation!” Overall however, the new kiosks are proving to work well.
“It is a big change, and there are bugs to work out,” Captain Jeffrey Swain of the IOPPD said. “We expect some problems,” when implementing changes, and brand new systems.
The same holds true for the new residential parking permit program. “We are trying to educate residents,” Swain said, “the program was put into effect to benefit the residents, not to inconvenience them.”
Linda Tucker, IOP City Administrator, echoes Swain’s sentiments. “Emails from residents indicate the permit program is working well. There are going to be difficulties that need to be ironed out; we have a file started for the after-action discussion to be held in City Council this fall.”
Vince DiGandi, north of 41st street, is thrilled with the new residential permit program. Prior to its implementation, parking on his street “was an absolute nightmare.” Residential permits have eliminated all of the day trippers parking on his street, along with their antics, including, according to DiGandi, public urination, changing of clothes, and trash.
“It was like Christmas at the mall; people circling the block looking for a parking space. I couldn’t back out of my driveway for the line of cars.” The difference is “like night and day,” DiGandi continued, “and now the residents are guaranteed some space and access.”
Bill Campbell and Dave Guilford, DiGandi’s neighbors, agree. Campbell notes there is “less residential cruising, reduced speeding, and less litter.” Guilford said, “improvement in our quality of life from reduced traffic flow is much appreciated.”
As visitors acclimatise to the new system, DiGandi sees tickets being issued, and is sensitive to the fact that some folks are upset.
However, he views the permitted parking as a win-win. “The day trippers still have access to the beach; they just may have to walk a bit farther. And, we have our neighborhood back!”