South Bend Common Council raises parking fines to $50

SOUTH BEND, Ind (WNDU) - The South Bend Common Council has passed an ordinance to raise the fine for parking in residential parking zones.

The fine for parking in a residential permit-only zone used to be the same price as paying for the Eddy Street Commons garage on the weekends, $10.

Monday night, the council voted to increase the fine fivefold.

“Paying the minimal fee to park in say the garage at Eddy Street Commons will be less than risking the $50 fine, and that's why we wanted to raise that. Folks were maybe willing to risk a $10 fine, and now, hopefully, they'll think twice about that,” South Bend Common Council Member Jake Teshka said.

Teshka, the bill's sponsor, said that this fine amount has been effective in controlling parking in front of fire hydrants.

However, when 16 News Now spoke to residents in December about how a fine increase could solve the issue, many pointed the finger at lack of enforcement.

“Some people I have seen drive away because they think they might be towed; however, the towing is not enforced. So many people take their risks and are not towed, of course,” nearby resident Alison Rice said.

Teshka says that enforcement is something the council is hoping to improve, but it could depend on police resources.

“Right now, we don't have a traffic unit within our police department, so that's a change that I'd like to see moving forward. Right now it might be incumbent upon the residents to inform the city that these issues are happening so we can take action,” Teshka said.

The city has 90 days to spread the word and see if it deters motorists before it officially goes into effect.

The bill passed with a unanimous 9-0 vote.