Motorists who would block streetcars: You’re catching on fast.
For the month of July, Kansas City parking control officers wrote up zero parking tickets and called for zero tows related to vehicles in the path of the downtown streetcars, police said.
It was the first month since the streetcarts glided to life that authorities encountered no need to ticket or tow.
“Not bad,” said police Sgt. Kari Thompson. “It looks like people already are used to the streetcars.”
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It was just May 6 when the Kansas City Streetcar Authority held a grand opening that let the riding public on board. Within a few weeks of that launch — and after months of testing that put downtown motorists on notice of the need to give the new arrivals room to travel — a spate of parking citations slowed to a trickle.
The police department reported that its parking control officers issued 29 streetcar-related parking tickets in May; 11 vehicles were towed the same month.
Some of the blockages, caught on video by streetcar cameras, were widely circulated in social media.
In early March during the testing period, a streetcar heading south on Main Street winged a Mercedes with one side resting beyond the white line intended to keep parked cars a safe distance from the tracks. That incident, too, stirred public attention.
“It was definitely communicated to our city that it (the streetcar) will hit,” Thompson said.
Placards along the curb alerted the uninformed to the white line not to be crossed.
Until the violation-free month of July, police had recorded 66 streetcar-related parking tickets and 20 tows. Violators whose vehicles were removed faced fines of $200 or more.
Violations pertaining to the flow of streetcars have proven to be just a small fraction of the parking problems that officers see downtown, police said. The city has written up more than 15,000 parking tickets there so far this year.
Obeying the rules
The number of streetcar-related parking tickets and tows dropped to zero for the month of July after peaking during May, the month the riding public climbed on board.
January: 11 tickets, 0 tows
February: 9 tickets, 1 tow
March: 7 tickets, 4 tows
April: 7 tickets, 4 tows
May: 29 tickets, 11 tows
June: 3 tickets, 0 tows
July: 0 tickets, 0 tows
Source: KCPD Parking Control