If you’re found to be “lazy” double-parking in Easton, you could soon have the book thrown at you.
During Tuesday night’s city council public safety committee meeting, Councilman Jeff Warren presented a proposed ordinance that would set hefty fines for what he dubbed as “lazy” double-parking, in which a motorist chooses to double-park even when an adjacent open parking spot on the street is readily available.
Under a current city ordinance, double-parking is punishable with a $25 fine. The proposed ordinance presented by Warren would make a distinction for motorists who double-park when another spot is readily open within 20 feet. Motorist doing such would face a $100 fine, with late-payment penalties of up to $50.
“Double parking has been a problem in this city for quite some time,” Warren said. “If another spot is open 20 feet away and you double park, you deserve to get a ticket.”
Warren’s proposed ordinance will head to the entire council for consideration.
According to Warren, “lazy” double-parking has especially become a public safety problem downtown in the 200 block of Northampton Street, where many motorists from New Jersey double-park to make a quick transaction at the cigarette shops.
“I think this ordinance can be a deterrent,” Warren stated. “It’s about sending a serious message to individuals chronically doing this.”
Warren said the proposal mirrors an existing “lazy” double-parking ordinance in Allentown; the only difference is that the Allentown law makes it violation when an open spot is readily available within 10 feet. Warren’s proposal would set the distance at 20 feet.
Councilwoman Elinor Warner raised several concerns about the “lazy” double-parking distinction, including in instances where a motorist who is caught double-parking claims that an adjacent open spot was not available when they first pulled in.
“Why don’t we just increase the fine, rather than try to distinguish between a non-lazy or lazy double-parker,” Warner said. “We already have a double-parking law in place. We can send a serious message by enforcing it.”
Mayor Sal Panto said the proposed ordinance could be a tool in cracking down on a lot of double parking that occurs at businesses he describes as “run-in, run-out” establishments.
Panto noted the importance of the city targeting motorists who “show blatant disregard” for others.
Warren said the proposed ordinance is not designed to be a revenue generator; it’s goal is to address what he says has become a serious public safety concern.