WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Parking in downtown Warren is free for two hours a day in the Central Business District, but it can come with a price if drivers are not careful.
Two hours does not mean two hours in just one parking spot. It means two hours in any parking spot anywhere in the downtown business district.
Warren has what is called zone parking. Once parking enforcement officers type a license plate into their computer, the meter starts running, which means that even if someone parks for 15 minutes downtown at 8 a.m. and comes back at noon to grab something to eat and parks in a different spot, they can still get a ticket if they go over the two-hour limit.
The rule has been around since 1999, but most people are unaware of that specific detail.
“No, I didn’t know that. That is crazy. Wow,” said Youngstown resident Amanda Signor.
“There has been times when I have left my spot and moved to just a different spot, so I didn’t know you could be penalized and ticketed for that,” said Youngstown resident Rebecca Solan.
Aaron Chine knows the law all too well. He lives in the business district and is no stranger to parking tickets.
“Anywhere downtown. If you are down at a restaurant or you go over to a local business, the Lime Tree, the Horse Shoe, anywhere you go, no matter even if you move your parking spot, you are still going to get a ticket. It’s two hours cumulative for the whole day. That is all you get,” Chine said.
In 2013, Warren collected more than $16,600 in parking tickets. Tony Iannucci, who runs Warren Parking Systems, said it’s a confusing system and would love to see the city move to parking meters.
“I hope that we can go to meters. Not only do I think it’s a better system, but I am hoping that the revenue for meters can be used then for downtown improvements,” Iannucci said.
In the meantime, city officials advise using the Warren parking deck for those who plan to be downtown most of the day. It’s only $2 to park all day compared to a $10 parking ticket.