Urbana City Council to raise fines on parking

By Jonathan Jacobson

The city of Urbana is planning to change its parking laws at next week’s city council meeting, promising to free parking spaces and punish people who illegally park cars.

At its meeting Monday night, the council sifted through a series of ordinances that attempt to curb the parking shortage in Urbana.

For people who unlawfully park in handicapped spaces, the council plans to raise the fine from $100 to $250, following a similar decision made by the Champaign City Council last week.

One ordinance would punish cars in a single spot for more than 72 hours, but more than a few council members disapproved.

“This does not address people on vacation,” Charlie Smyth (Ward 1) said. “There should be exceptions.”

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Smyth also explained in an interview that the problems of long-term storage and abandoned cars are not addressed by this ordinance.

The C-U Joint Telecommunications Commission, which makes recommendations to the city councils of Urbana and Champaign on cable television and other telecommunications issues, also presented to the council. They expressed concerns about federal intervention into a currently locally controlled medium.

The Senate and House are considering several bills limiting local franchise authority, said Richard Atterberry, chairman of the commission. Some state governments are also limiting local franchise and taxing authority.

“Local control is more than just cashing a check,” Atterberry said. “If your constituents are upset because of cables running across their yard, neither the FCC nor the Senate is going to care. That’s why local control works.”