I have long been an advocate of graduated parking fines. First ticket is $10, Second $20 and so forth. Missoula, MT has taken it a step further. They are making the first ticket free. Read about it here.
You may have heard about this program in other cities, but Missoula has a twist. They reset after six months. They only go back six months in searching their records so if you are a good little parker for six months your record is cleared and your next ticket will be free.
I think this is a good idea, particularly if you combine it with a new parking citation fee structure (raise the fines). Its great PR, and it rewards good behavior and penalizes bad.
There’s always someone who doesn’t get it:
“I think the freebie is awesome, and I think the price hike sucks,” said Bouchee, who isn’t a stranger to parking tickets.
This woman has a store and parks her car in front ostensibly to load and unload supplies. However it seems she parks there almost all the time, taking space from her customers, and strangely, gets a ton of tickets.
This is a carrot and stick approach. Our typical is ‘stick’ only. Both work, but experience has shown that the carrot is better at changing behavior than the ‘stick,’ plus you have a much happier clientele.