A dozen Allentown residents spoke Wednesday about bullying, discrimination and poor customer service by Allentown parking lot employees.
A parking authority board meeting is usually a quiet affair. But a viral social media flyer promoting Wednesday’s meeting as a “day of action” urged residents to come and share their concerns about parking in the city.
Board members allowed about 10 people to speak before blocking public comment to address the meeting agenda. The boardroom was a relatively small space, and he could only fit six speakers in the room at a time. When one left, another one of hers was allowed into the room.
Those who were unable to speak in advance were told they could wait until after the meeting was over.
Resident Jose Cartagena said he received a ticket for “double parking” after dropping off an elderly neighbor at his home. Cartagena said parking authority officials blocked traffic within 30 seconds before issuing him a ticket.
There were several similar stories. Uber driver Julius Smith said he arrived early in the morning to pick up a passenger on Tilghman Street and within “seconds” he received a $200 ticket.
“I can’t make $200 an hour,” says Smith. “It’s bullying. It’s about not letting them get out of the car and let you know something’s going on. When I park they follow me. Now I’m parked and , they give me a ticket.”
Ingrid Ulloa said police issued her a ticket when she was dropping her friend off a grocery shopping trip. She considered contesting her costs in court, but she said she couldn’t take time off work to do so.She couldn’t afford the tickets, so her friend helped pay for some of her expenses.
All three said they were in the car because they were ticketed and were given neither a warning nor a chance to move their car by the issuer.
While expressing sympathy for residents’ plight, board members also described the public pressure they face to address parking complaints. Double parking is the most complained parking problem in the city, said commissioner Ted Zeller.
However, Zeller lamented that residents were unable to resolve their issues through the parking authority’s customer service, adding that there are “several ideas” to help residents more efficiently resolve tickets they believe were issued in error. ‘ said there is.
Our customer service representatives usually tell the complainant to challenge the ticket in court, which not everyone can do.
“We need a better way to handle complaints,” said Zeller.
Board member Darryl Hendricks said parking attendants should “exercise discretion” in issuing tickets and allow drivers to rectify the situation first.
West Allentown resident Betty Cowler said she and her neighbors left Tilman Street even though the traffic was unobstructed and there were no visible ‘no parking’ signs. He said he was repeatedly ticketed for parking in the alley.
Zeller said the ordinance parking authority officials used to issue tickets to Cowler and his neighbors contained “horrible” vague language, and vowed to fix it.
Jessica Ortiz, executive director of the nonprofit Ortiz Ark Foundation, distributed flyers promoting the Parking Authority conference on social media.
She said she has heard many complaints and has experienced parking problems herself. It’s a schedule.
“It happens monthly. We’re going to fill the room,” says Ortiz.
Board members said those who didn’t get the chance to speak should attend next month’s board meeting. He said he was holding an evening meeting where he could discuss the issue.
Antonio Betancourt and his daughter Chastiti were among those who were not given the chance to speak before the meeting. They were frustrated with having to wait for an opportunity to be heard.
Chastity activated the car on Friday due to an unpaid parking ticket, but couldn’t pay the ticket or access the car until Monday because the parking authority was closed over the weekend.
“It’s not fair, it’s not right,” said Antonio.
Wake-up call reporter Lindsay Weber can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
https://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-nws-allentown-parking-authority-complaints-20230125-nncohbkinfbptdx7idm3jr6xm4-story.html#ed=rss_www.mcall.com/arcio/rss/category/news/local/ What sparked Action Day in Allentown parking lot? Residents complain of bullying and discrimination – The Morning Call