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Parking woes prompt VCU student to fight for change

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Posted at 6:58 PM, Jan 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-30 18:58:30-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you park in a restricted Richmond neighborhood zone without a proper decal, you can expect to see a ticket plastered on your windshield that comes with a $50 fine.

That was the scene along Catherine Street this week when CBS 6 spotted parking enforcers made their rounds.

VCU student Matt Dell says he has shelled out more than $200 in fines since August because he lives on a block that’s sandwiched between two blocks that have restricted parking.

Folks who live on those blocks are able to purchase decals for $25 per year. Dell says when drivers park in those restricted areas without decals, they’re only allowed to stay there for an hour.

However, Dell believes many people in the neighboring blocks don’t purchase decals and simply drive up to his block, the 800 block of West Clay Street to find a space. That’s one of his biggest frustrations.

Now he’s pushing to get city leaders to designate his block as a restricted zone. He says he’d be happy to pay $25 for a year, instead of taking his chances getting ticketed in other areas.

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“If you get the one parking ticket here for an hour parking, that's double the price of a permit,” Dell explained.

Dell also says to him, it just doesn't make sense for surrounding blocks to have restrictions and not his. He says attempts to purchase a decal for him to park on a neighboring block didn’t work out.

“I talked to city officials they told me because I live on an un-zoned block I'm not entitled to a parking permit, which puts me in an imposition because now I have to park four blocks away at 11 o'clock at night when I get home from work," Dell said.

Mikaela Holberton with Dell that the parking situation raises a safety issues.

“ I close at my restaurant and sometimes I don't get home until one in the morning and it's stressful. I have to walk a half-mile alone at one in the morning," Holberton said.

While some on Dell’s block aren't sold on having restricted parking, the city says there has to be a consensus before they can designate the block as a restricted parking zone.

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"If we make every block restricted and every car needs a decal, what happens when I have friends visit,” Jess Davis questioned.

Sharon North, a spokesperson for Richmond Public Works,  told CBS 6 that by law they can’t just designate a restricted parking zone.

“It’s a majority rule. If the block has fifty house and forty-five people say no, then we can’t restrict parking ," North said.explained.

Dell said his next move is to start a petition and gauge neighbor support for a restricted parking zone. If he gets an overwhelming response, he said he’ll take it back to city hall to get the ball rolling.

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