SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Employees in downtown San Marcos say they’re having to leave work every two hours to move their car or chance getting a parking ticket. The increase in parking enforcement was meant to help businesses have space for their clients, but now they’re seeing it as a problem.
Two hours is plenty of time for your average shopper running a few errands, but what if you want to get your hair done, spend the day browsing local shops, or how about a tattoo?
“There’s definitely clientele getting larger pieces and that could take two, three hours plus,” said Bubba’s Family Tattoo Parlour Tatoo artist Mark Diehl.
Diel spends his day checking the clock and moving his car every two hours when he can.
“When I’m working with a client I’m not going to get up in the middle of it and go spend 15 or 20 minutes looking for a different parking spot,” said Diehl.
Because of that, he says the tickets have piled up. “I paid $200 worth yesterday, I think I had seven tickets.”
Those tickets have been compounding since the end of last year. He says it’s the price he and every other employee must pay if they want to work in downtown San Marcos.
“The downtown employee tax, I mean, that’s basically what it is,” joked Diehl.
The city says there are no exceptions to the rule for those who park downtown, if you park there longer than two hours, you’ll get a ticket. The whole reason for the added enforcement was to keep university students from parking on the square then walking to campus.
“If you have students who are taking up those spaces all day long, it makes it more difficult for people to come into our business,” said Diehl.
In that aspect, the program works great. For employees, the city says you may have to walk a little further and park off the square where the two-hour time limit doesn’t apply.
The reason more tickets are being handed out now is due to new license plate reading technology. With the technology, parking enforcement no longer marks tires, they just drive the streets and are alerted if a car has been parked for too long.
In just the last two weeks, the city of San Marcos says 181 cars were ticketed for parking over the two-hour limit.