New Canaan hasn’t raised parking fines in 10 years, prompting town officials to consider whether it’s time to do so.
Fines currently range from $15 (parking on a curb or too far from it, for example) to $75 (parking in a handicapped zone if you’re not allowed). A complete list of violations and fines can be found here.
The Parking Bureau now is looking into how New Canaan’s practices compare to nearby towns, according to Karen Miller, the bureau’s supervisor.
By Town Charter, the Parking Commission is charged with recommending parking rules and fees. Money collected through parking fines goes into New Canaan’s general fund.
Asked what the commission will consider as it weighs whether to increase fines, Chair Keith Richey responded in an email, “Are the present fines at a high enough level to discourage people from engaging in the prohibited activity? What is the relationship between the fine and the crime?”
“For example, if it costs $5 to pay for parking for a day and the ticket were $5 too, no one would pay for parking—they would all run the risk of getting a ticket,” he continued.
In that example, the fine must be higher—and is, Richey said.
“What is the balance between being high enough to ‘bite’ and within a reasonable and fair range for the misconduct?” he said.
Though high fines yield better compliance, the commission must consider whether they’re fair to those not familiar with fine amounts and also whether higher fines are disproportionate to harm caused, Richey said.
The question of fines came up at the Parking Commission’s meeting at Lapham Community Center last week. The group next meets in May, Miller said.