Allegheny County Council considers reducing North Park parking fines

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The fine for parking on the grass of Allegheny County parks should be $75 if paid within 72 hours.

That was the consensus Allegheny County Council’s parks committee reached Wednesday, although chairman Nicholas Futules, D-Oakmont, said he thought it should be $50.

No vote was taken Wednesday to recommend changing the 2006 ordinance that set the fine amount at $100 to $300.

Instead, parks committee members plan to forward their suggestion to other council members as a “trial balloon,” said Councilman Michael Finnerty, D-Scott.

The topic will be discussed further at another parks committee meeting later this month, Mr. Futules said.

The fine amounts for parking on the grass has been a topic of discussion within Allegheny County government in recent weeks, after Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said people had expressed frustration about receiving tickets from county police that, with court fees, could be nearly $400. He said people should not park on the grass but that the fine that county council set in 2006 was too high.

Mr. Fitzgerald and county Manager William McKain have said that newly added features at North Park, such as the OTB Bicycle Cafe at the North Park Boathouse and the Go Ape Zip Line, have brought more people to the park.

To deal with some of the growth, the county added 85 parking spots and signs reminding people that more parking is available near the boathouse at the Rose Barn. That work was completed Wednesday, Mr. McKain said.

The question of how much a fine should be for parking on the grass still is unresolved. Mr. McKain said the challenge is providing a deterrent to parking on the grass for safety reasons, while making visiting county parks a pleasant experience.

“It’s not an easy answer to a complex question,” he said.

The consensus, though, was that tickets for parking on the grass should be $75, if paid within 72 hours to the county police. Councilwoman Jan Rea, R-McCandless, suggested that police provide a self-addressed envelope with the ticket, to facilitate mailing. Tickets not paid within 72 hours would be forwarded to a magistrate’s office, where people ticketed for parking on the grass then would be subject to court costs.

Kaitlynn Riely: or 412-263-1707.

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