By Oyinda Rickford
SAN MARCOS —The city is taking a stance against individuals with unpaid parking citations through the recent approval of a vehicle booting ordinance.
The ordinance states that if a driver accumulates three or more overdue or unpaid parking tickets, the city possesses the authority to immobilize the vehicle with a boot or even potentially impound it.
While the ordinance is not a completely new policy, some significant changes have occurred. The original ordinance sent notices by mail to persons with three or more overdue or unpaid tickets, stating the individual had ten days to remedy their situation. The new update to the ordinance allows the city to post the notice directly to the vehicle.
Signs and QR codes up around San Marcos with more information about the latest updates to the ordinance. That has not stopped the pushback from citizens, especially students, who feel this ordinance affects them disproportionately.
“There is already limited parking in the city, booting cars will just take up more spots for a longer time, making it harder for others to park lawfully,” said Yazmine Philips, a sophomore at Texas State University. “It is hard enough struggling to pay for tuition, housing and parking passes on campus, but adding tickets and impound fees on top will undoubtedly make life harder on students.”
On the other hand, city parking officials say the ordinance is not meant to make life harder for students or take up more parking space. The ordinance is intended to act as a deterrent and provides the possibility for appeal.
“We are aware the city is predominantly college-aged people, which is why the court offers payment plans and alternatives for those who qualify. We are hoping this acts as a deterrent. Encouraging those with tickets to take care of them, and utilizing boots as the last measure,” said Samantha Deyo, parking coordinator for San Marcos.
With any new change in policy, there is bound to be some resistance. The future is promising for both sides; the city is seeking a balance between deterrence and addressing the needs of students dealing with parking challenges.
“I think this is a good change in policy … I feel that if the ordinance works the way it is supposed to and gives students a fair amount of time to pay, it will ultimately benefit students and the city as a whole,” said Mckayla Rangel, resident and student.
When asked if the city anticipates any adverse effects of the ordinance, Deyo said, “With any changes, there will always be some challenges we have to work through, but for the most part we see this as a good change…Our goal is to keep pedestrians and other vehicles safe.”
You can learn more about this ordinance and any general San Marcos parking policy on the San Marcos government website.
Written by: Danielle De Lucia