ELYRIA — Former Elyria city jail corrections officer Dean Arroyo doesn’t want to become the most hated man in Elyria, but as the city’s new parking enforcement officer, he knows the job comes with a certain level of animosity.
On Tuesday morning, before a storm rolled in, Arroyo was busy marking the tires of cars parked on Middle Avenue, Court and Broad streets. Each time he placed a small chalk mark on the tire of an unoccupied car, he also took note of the time.
It seems like a primitive method, but it is the simplest way to check which vehicles stay longer than posted signs allow. And, when appropriate, it’s the system Arroyo counts on to determine who will get a parking ticket in downtown Elyria.
“I’m not trying to be mean. I’m just doing my job,” Arroyo, 56, of Lorain, said. “This is something the area needs as the city tries to make the place a little better for everyone. It is something the merchants have wanted for years.”
It has been several years since Elyria has had a parking enforcement officer, but Arroyo’s recent hire changed that.
After weeks of handing out written warnings to violators, Arroyo began issuing parking tickets Monday morning. Fines for parking violations are $15 for the first offense, $50 for the second and $100 for every offense thereafter.
On the first day, Arroyo issued fewer than 10 tickets, he said.
“For more than three years, people have parked in the downtown area with no regard for any of the signs. The city has decided it is time for that to come to a stop,” he said. “I understand no one wants to go to court to pay a traffic fine only to come outside and find a parking ticket on their car, but the rules are the rules.”
Arroyo said he hopes drivers who frequent the downtown area find alternative parking when they plan to be in downtown Elyria for longer than two hours.
“I will be fair, but I can’t park for free anywhere I want to because I work for the Police Department,” he said. “But I know some people won’t get that. People just don’t like being told what to do.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.