Parking fines going up in Downtown Lakeland

Tickets will be $25 instead of $15 downtown

LAKELAND, Fla. - Parking can be hard to come by in downtown Lakeland, and if you violate the rules, starting Tuesday, August 1, you'll pay even more for the ticket on your windshield.

Bethany Jordan, manager at Taco Bus downtown says getting a parking ticket isn't rare. She's had, "five, I think."

Each one costing her hard earned cash. "There's just so many other more important things my money could go to," Jordan said.

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Right now, tickets are $15.00. Starting Tuesday, they will cost drivers $25 dollars. 

"That's like, wow. That makes me really mad," she said.

Plus, habitual offenders can get ticketed up to three times in one day. The city is giving people more time to pay their tickets, 21 days instead of 10.

If you work downtown it's tough. You can't just find another spot after your two hours have expired because according to the parking signs, it's 2 FREE hours of parking in total per day. If you want to stay longer, you have to pay for it. That is an option, but you have to use a mobile app to add on more time. 

The parking garage charges $70.00/month, but Jordan says that's too expensive. The city decided to make the change because parking spots are in high demand.

Kelsey Bozeman visited for lunch with her friends, the group isn't sold on the idea either.

"I feel like either provide for more parking or don't give us a limit," she said.

Jordan says she'd like the city to give employees at downtown businesses stickers for their cars allowing them to park for free during their shift.

According to the city, there are 547 on-street spots downtown, 764 parking lot spaces and 1,542 spots in the parking garage.

Julie Townsend, Executive Director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority said, "With these parking spaces shared more frequently, there will be additional opportunities for customers to enjoy their downtown shopping/dining experiences."

The fine for parking in a disabled spot is also increasing from $100.00 to $250.00.

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