When Patrick Ranney Jr. went to bed Tuesday he thought the City of Tonawanda’s new law allowing overnight parking on city streets had gone into effect. He had parked overnight several nights previously without incident.
But he awoke to an unpleasant surprise Wednesday: a parking ticket on his truck and several other vehicles on his street.
“When I see something on Facebook and there’s multiple people saying it, it’s my luck that I just happened to believe it,” he said. “It’s my own fault for not checking it further.”
Police issued 57 parking tickets to vehicles parked on city streets between 4 and 6 a.m. The Common Council last week approved eliminating the April-through-October ban on street parking during those hours.
But the change does not take effect until a notice is published July 20 in the city’s designated newspaper for publication of legal notices, the Tonawanda News. Mayor Rick Davis said the 57 tickets issued early Wednesday and their $20 fines will be waived due to the confusion.
“There was a lot of misinformation out there as far as when the new ordinance goes into effect,” he said. “It’s not a money grab and I don’t want people to see it as that.”
Davis and the city clerk’s office reported receiving multiple phone calls and visits Wednesday from ticketed residents.
“They think it’s allowed already and it’s not,” said Deputy City Clerk Kathleen Greenawalt. “Some people are fine and others are not happy. It just depends on who it is.”
After the new ordinance is published, residents will not be ticketed beginning July 21 at 4 a.m., Davis said.
The Council will review overnight parking again after the trial period expires Oct. 31. A ban on parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 through March 31 to allow for snow plowing remains in effect.
City police also announced that several street closings take effect today, ahead of Canal Fest, which begins Sunday. Young Street between Main Street and Delaware Avenue and Niagara Street between Seymour Street and Main Street will close at 2 p.m.
The Renaissance Bridge will close at 5 p.m. and temporary bus stops will be posted while the bus kiosk at Main and Niagara is closed.