Bloomington Police are issuing $20 tickets and towing vehicles that are illegally parked in the 500 block of North Main Street and the 100 block of West Washington Street during designated hours. (Photo by Eric Stock/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - People who park too close to their favorite bar or restaurant in downtown Bloomington could end up having their car towed.
Police spokesman Dave White said officers have towed 31 vehicles that were parked in one of two tow zones that the city set up along the 500 block (east side) of North Main and the 100 block (south side) of West Washington Street five weeks ago. Those blocks are reserved as staging areas for vehicles-for-hire during the late-night hours when the bar scene is at its peak.
The tow zones are in affect from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Several signs are posted with orange flags at both locations while residents and business owners were sent letters prior to the change. Police had a one-week grace period where officers only handed out warnings to give patrons time to adjust.
"A lot of people are seeing the signs and they are doing as the signs are telling them to do, be gone by 10 p.m. if they are in their personal vehicle," White said.
White said the tow zones were set up as a safety measure for party buses and shuttles that park along those blocks to take bar patrons home. Those areas are often heavily congested with people and vehicles near closing time.
"When all of those buses are down there trying to gather up people, with parking on both sides of the street, they (weren't) able to pull over. What they are doing is sitting in one of ote two traffic lanes waiting to pick up their customer," White said.
White added that the tickets aren't a money maker for the city. He said the $20 the city collects for each ticket (along with a $10 vehicle recovery fee) is far outweighted by the cost of having two patrol officers process the tickets and arrange for the tow vehicle. The vehicle owner pays for the tow.
Bloomington has a 90-minute time limit to on-steet parking during the day.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.