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Are higher fines deterring illegal parking on game day in Ames?

It is too early to tell, police say

The city of Ames increased fines for parking illegally on Iowa State University game day to deter people from blocking streets and driveways in neighborhoods near Jack Trice Stadium. (Ames Tribune)
The city of Ames increased fines for parking illegally on Iowa State University game day to deter people from blocking streets and driveways in neighborhoods near Jack Trice Stadium. (Ames Tribune)

AMES — The number of parking tickets written by Ames police last weekend was down from the last time the Cy-Hawk football game was in Ames, but not by much.

The big game was expected to draw big crowds of people from out of town. And with crowds come increased traffic and extra challenges for those trying to find a place to park.

This year, the city increased fines from $20 to $40 for parking illegally on streets in the neighborhoods near Jack Trice Stadium. The goal was to deter people from blocking streets and driveways in those neighborhoods.

Did it work? Overall, the number of tickets written for the weekend dropped from 1,224 in 2017 to 1,079 this year. But according to Ames Police Cmdr. Jason Tuttle, the number of parking tickets issued on game day actually was up a little, from 700 in 2017 to 710 this year.

In the first week of the season, when Iowa State hosted Northern Iowa, Ames police issued 300 tickets, down from 325 the year before.

Beside the citations, 143 vehicles were privately towed for parking in areas they weren’t supposed to, Tuttle said.

He said it’s still unclear what effect the new rules had.

“We noticed there were a couple of the areas in the many areas that we check that people were abiding by those regulations,” he said. “I don’t know if we can say that it had a great deterrent effect due to the number of visitors who still parked their cars in those areas.”

Whether the fines will increase again will be up to the City Council.

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“(The) City Council will probably take a look (at fines), they’ll want a summary of what we observe and what our numbers say, but like anything else, it takes a while for people to change their habits,” Tuttle said.

In addition to the parking violations, Ames police arrested 18 people on game day — including 16 for public intoxication and one for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Iowa State police arrested 31 people and cited 52, according to the department’s game day summary. Fifty-one people were cited for possession of alcohol under the legal age.

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