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Posted: May 10, 2011 7:05 p.m.

City tightens parking rules downtown

Parking rules on and around the square are changing this week, and those not following the rules will receive warnings followed by fines.

The outer ring on the square is already marked as two-hour parking, but that limit will be enforced more strictly beginning this week, and that will extend to streets one block off the square, said Covington Mayor Kim Carter in an e-mail.

The inner ring of the square will be available for longer stays of up to 12 hours. Handicapped residents will not be subject to the two-hour limit on the outer square, Carter said previously.

The Covington City Council approved the changes in 2009, but as with many initiatives involving new fines and fees, the city has moved slowly when enforcing those on the public. Carter said the city wanted to minimize any negative effect on businesses, but noted that the changes are meant to promote turnover and ensure that visitors will be able to find parking.

First-time offenders will receive a "Park Smart" card that explains the new rules. These cards are already available at downtown businesses. The second and third offenses will result in $10 fines, while the fourth offense and above will cost violators $50. The parking time limits will be enforced during all days and all times of day.

The previous fine of $3 has been in place for more than 20 years, but is outdated, Carter said previously. The updated rules and fees were considered by a committee for more than a year, she added.

Fines will be collected by the Covington Police Department and go to general fund revenues.

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