Tampa not enforcing those '5 minute parking' signs

FDOT calls city code non-compliant
Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 18:45:02-05

A common sight in neighborhoods where street parking can be hard to come by, "5 minute parking" signs are currently not being enforced by the City of Tampa.

The change in policy came a couple weeks ago after a complaint went to Florida's Department of Transportation (FDOT). A traffic operations engineer with FDOT determined the signs were not in compliance with state law that sets standards for traffic control signs, and a spokesperson with FDOT tells ABC Action News that the department has made recommendations to the city to change their City Code 15-43.

For years, city residents have been told that if they post a sign saying "5 minute parking, City Code 15-43" that they can call the Tampa Police Department and have a violator ticketed. The policy has been long-treasured in neighborhoods that are near businesses and restaurants, where overflow parking has sometimes conflicted with the needs of residents. They are a common sight in South Tampa and Hyde Park.

FDOT tells ABC Action News that, recently, someone was ticketed for parking in front of one of these signs, "which apparently was mounted very low to the ground making it not visible to effect reasonable compliance," explains a spokesperson for FDOT's District 7 office.

In reviewing 15-43, FDOT said they have made the following suggestion to the city: 

  • If a fence is not available to mount this panel, it shall be mounted on a separate post with a minimum height requirement of 5.0’.
  • Standard panel shall be retro-reflective.

FDOT said if these two measures were added to this code, "it would be more complete."

The City Council was briefed last week by their legal department as they try to find a way to make parking restrictions more enforceable. The City Council is yet to make a decision about the matter. In the meantime, the City of Tampa Legal Department has recommended that the City cease to enforce the law in question and repeal the ordinance as soon as possible, according to a spokesperson with the Tampa Police Department.