MISSOULA — There's parking galore in downtown Missoula right now because of the coronavirus shutdown -- but the city is continuing to enforce parking rules.
With many downtown businesses closing their doors or at least curtailing hours of operation because of the COVID-19 quarantines, there's no shortage of parking -- and the city is continuing to enforce downtown parking rules and writing tickets.
"It turns out the machine needs to keep running and so paying those parking meters just supports out parking organization and our ability to build parking and maintain those facilities,” Missoula Mayor John Engen said at a recent news conference. “We're not ticketing folks for meter violations currently. You're likely getting a "whoops" ticket so you probably have a blood pressure spike when you take the ticket, look at it, and feel some relief or anger, depending on the day."
Maintenance workers are sanitizing the kiosks, but recommend you use the app to pay for parking on your phone. The automated parking machines are still up and operating and to be a good citizen -- and to keep the parking revenue and its supported system viable -- the city hopes you'll continue to do your part.
While most of those tickets will be courtesy tickets, Mayor Engen says the city will go ahead and write infractions for safety violations.
"We're still ticketing for safety violations. If you're parking in front of a fire hydrant, if you can't stay between the lines, we're going to probably ding you for that,” Mayor Engen said. “But we hear that, and the parking commission is happy to try to provide some relief there."
The city has also stopped "booting" cars. Additionally, the Parking Commission office is closed so the city recommends if you do have to pay a ticket you do that over the phone or online.