Albany’s new parking permit system is not going well

May 5, 2013

Albany’s three-month-old parking permit system has already become the center of media attention, albeit for the wrong reasons. The parking permit system, started on January 15, 2013, is already overwhelmed with serious violations, leaving the city (located in New York state) in a mess. Meant for restricting street parking, the system is being violated by people who have illegally obtained visitor passes.

Visitor Parking Sign

Sign showing parking time limit for visitors (image by GIANTsqurl).

This new parking system is in effect from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. It covers three zones within the Empire State Plaza and prohibits people (without permits) from parking in these zones for more than two hours. Visitor passes that cost $25 a year are given only to people with a residential permit in the aforementioned zones. Permit holders can “dole out the pass to anyone they wish, as long as the people who receive it use it to visit the permit holder.”

Trouble started brewing when these visitor passes, supposed to be used for visiting someone in the neighborhood, were being handed over to the people working in nearby areas. Angry resident Justin Mikulka says, “You see the same cars with visitor tags here every week, Monday through Friday. They come in the morning, leave at 5 and aren’t here on the weekends. What does that tell you?” He added that the situation is pretty much the same as it was earlier, however, the residents have to shell out an extra $25 for the system which is being abused extensively. [Source: Timesunion]

Parking permit visitor pass

Visitor parking passes are being illegally given to non-residents in Albany. View visitor permit passes at

There is no doubt that the visitor tags are used illegally by local workers and non-residents alike. Albany City Clerk Nala Woodard stated the situation is “worse than what we had anticipated.” However, efforts are underway to curb parking violations by tracing the illegal visitor tags and enforcing the parking permit rules stringently. The current enforcement method only punishes the residential permit holder.

Common Council member Richard Conti said that they are looking for better methods trace illegal visitors. He suggested tracing them electronically and added, “Enforcement officers will soon be able to scan a license plate, see if it is registered as a permit holder and then enter the car in a database if it is not already there. If a car with a visitor pass repeatedly comes past the one-week limit, the vehicle could be ticketed for being illegally parked. The permit holder could be fined as well, or have the permit revoked.”

Other ways to track down illegal visitor tags are being considered. Violators can be caught if any person registers a complaint at the clerk’s office along with the car’s license plate, location where the vehicle was parked, and the visitor pass number. Since each visitor’s parking permit pass is coded, it’s possible to trace it to the resident it was originally issued to. If a resident is caught, they’re sent a warning letter. Repeated offenders will be fined up to $250 and can have their permit revoked for up to six months.

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Category: News, Regulations

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