‘Hit ‘em where it hurts’: Charlotte leaders increase penalty for illegal parking

CHARLOTTE — James Lee held up his bike helmet so Charlotte City council members could see it.

“I am hoping that one day somebody else comes up here and doesn’t show you a helmet with blood on it,” he said. “This is my life that they are putting in the balance.”


He says that too often cars park in the bike lanes forcing him to ride his bike in the street. He says this is dangerous and has resulted in him getting hurt.

On Monday night, the Charlotte City Council unanimously voted to increase the penalty for illegal parking from $25 to $100.

That ticket hike will apply to cars parking in the bike lanes, cars blocking the streetcar, and trucks parking on the side of the road. Councilman Malcolm Graham says truck parking has gotten so out of hand that he hears about in the grocery store.

“The problem of commercial parking throughout the city is getting worse every day,” he said.

However, Councilman Malcolm Graham and other city leaders worry the $100 fine won’t be enough to deter the illegal truck parking. They are asking for a report within the next couple of months to find out whether they should increase it more or start booting.

City staff members say the $100 ticket is already the highest fine in North Carolina and that the council should be careful not to anger the state.

“I think we need to be careful to make sure we are not overreaching,” Lisa Flowers, an attorney for the city of Charlotte, said.

Lee says go for it.

“Hit ‘em where it hurts,” he said.