United Parcel Service delivery driver James Riley pulled his brown box truck in front of the “No Parking Any Time” sign late Thursday morning, hurried into downtown’s Raleigh Building and took an elevator up to deliver some packages.
As he stepped off the elevator back at street level, a woman sounded the alarm.
“Sir! Sir!” the woman cried. “They’re booting your vehicle!”
“They” were City of Raleigh Park Link employees who ticket – or in this instance, clamp the dreaded boot – on the vehicles illegally parked downtown.
Riley, who has been with UPS for 30 years, says he was in the building at 5 Hargett St. no more than a couple of minutes.
Dustin Winkler, a downtown employee, said soon after Riley went in the Raleigh Building, a City of Raleigh ParkLink car pulled behind the UPS truck. An employee got out of the car and attached two yellow boots to the vehicle.
“Why did they put two on?” asked the hapless Riley.
“Pedestrians (who had gathered) were talking about how ridiculous it was that this had to be done,” Winkler wrote in an email message to The News & Observer. “A co-worker and I were discussing how Park Link now seems to be almost as bad as the predatory towing was a few years back and how inefficient the system is. Every week at least one or two people stop me on the street to ask for assistance using the meters.”
Tina Overton, a spokeswoman with ParkLink, which handles downtown parking enforcement, would not say why the UPS truck was booted.
“I can’t talk about UPS, but generally, if you have three or more parking tickets that have not been paid for over 90 days you can get booted,” she said.
Riley said a ticket in October and the one he got Thursday are the only two he has ever received since delivering packages to downtown for the past 15 years.
His UPS truck was booted in October, too.
“They put one on and came back in 10 or 15 minutes to take it off,” he said.
The city took over downtown parking enforcement last June from Raleigh Park, a private company.
“The city believed they could provide a better service,” Overton said.
But more than a few downtown employees and residents think the city’s definition of providing a better service has resulted in aggressive, over-the-top enforcement. It’s common to see parking employees in the Oakwood neighborhood, blocks from downtown, writing parking citations.
“I wouldn’t use the word aggressive,” Overton said “But they were hired to do their job for the city.”
Raleigh News & Observer