Galveston updates its parking enforcement with mail-based parking ticket system starting June 8th

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Saturday, May 25, 2024
Galveston updates its parking enforcement with mail-based parking ticket system starting June 8th
Galveston Beach's new parking ticket system by mail sparks concerns and changes for visitors.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you're going to Galveston to beat the heat this summer, you may want to check your mailbox after you visit.

For beachgoers this Memorial Day weekend, parking tickets are one of the last things they want to see on their vehicles.

"If I get one, I won't be too happy, but we paid for parking," visitor Mesam Ahsan said.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, if you plan to park on the gulf side of the Seawall or parts of the north side, expect to pay. If not, a $33 ticket could be waiting.

"Do they still put them under your windshield wiper? I don't know," Galveston resident Kyra Elliott said. "I haven't had one in years."

You won't find them under your windshield in about two weeks. Starting June 8th, the city plans to use USPS instead.

"They're going to mail us a ticket? I thought it would be online," Ahsan said. "I was going to be like, 'Oh, they're saving paper,' but I guess if they're going to mail it to us, that's not good."

City leaders approved the change for the Seawall last month. The Strand and other parts of the island will still distribute tickets on your vehicle.

"For now, the plan is just for the Seawall," Galveston spokesperson Marissa Barnett explained. "Of course, I think, that's always an open discussion if it seems to be very successful."

Officials said by doing this along the Seawall, enforcement doesn't have to block a traffic lane, and it's safer. "It reduces the interactions between those that are getting a parking ticket and enforcement," Barnett said.

Instead of two weeks to pay, the city is giving people three weeks because of the mail.

"I don't think I would like that," Elliott said. "What if it gets lost in the mail and you're in more trouble."

Local leaders have raised concerns lately about USPS. ABC13 has heard from several neighbors who have had mail issues.

Steve Shellist from the Shellist Law Firm said if the ticket gets lost in the mail, you could face fees, fines, or other penalties.

"If someone doesn't respond to a ticket it's like they've said, 'Hey, I'm guilty.' The court can order it as such and then it'll have that legal effect on their record," Shellist explained.

Shellist said if that happens, and you visit the island later this summer and get or boot or tow, keep cool.

"My advice is, you're going to have to pay to get the boot off your car," Shellist said. "Then, you're going to have to go to court and try to figure out what your rights are."

Late fees start at $8, but changes could come if city officials notice more people are getting them.

"We know how many we've written and we can see what the response rate is and see if we have to adjust our plans," Barnett said.

To avoid a parking ticket, you'll have to pay $2 an hour, or $16 for the day by an app, website, or phone call to 866-234-7275. You can also get an annual pass for $45.

You could also avoid having to pay to park, by going to the opposite side of the Seawall on the north side where there's free parking between 12th and 19th Streets, 33rd and 39th Streets, 53rd and 61st Streets, and 85th and 91st Streets.

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