Tix on 66: Top spots for parking tickets trace Central Ave

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Dominic Fierro couldn’t wait to share his story. With a diaper slung across his shoulders and his infant son resting in a car seat in the crook of his left arm, he recounted the saga of his parking tickets.

“I’ve gotten a few of them,” Fierro said. “They basically slam you with every single thing. They check your tags, everything.”

The 100 block of Harvard Dr. SE just across the street from the University of New Mexico campus has a reputation for quick, thorough ticketing when drivers park past the time they paid for.

The ticket already waiting on Fierro’s windshield when he finished telling his tale only added to his woes — and underscored the point. “How awful is that?” he said, waving the $30 citation.

He’s not alone.

The city of Albuquerque wrote 3,846 parking tickets on the 100 block of Harvard last year, making it by far and away the Duke City’s busiest block.

A KRQE News 13 analysis of more than 60,000 parking tickets written in Albuquerque last year shows that the vast majority were handed out in the popular business, education and shopping districts along Central Avenue.

Most citations along the stretch of Central are for expired meters or parking pay stubs purchased from the kiosks that dot each block. But citywide, the same violations account for less than half the total tickets written. Other violations that frequently earn a ticket include parking in a permit-only zone, having expired registration tags and parking too far from the curb.

On Albuquerque’s second-busiest block for ticketing, though, 90 percent of the citations are for something else.

The 200 block of Spruce St. SE doesn’t sport a single parking meter. There are no “Permit Parking Only” signs. In fact, the street is bounded on the north, south, east and west by parking lots for Presbyterian Hospital.

Therein lies the problem.

When the free lots for Presbyterian fill up, drivers try to parallel park along the edge of the lot. The hospital has painted bright yellow stripes there with “NO PARKING” stenciled along the stripe. Normally, the city would leave private property parking issues up to the hospital, but there’s no curb between the private parking lot and the public sidewalk next to it.

At $60 a pop, the city wrote 1,961 tickets last year for parking on the sidewalk along the 200 block of Spruce SE.

Often, there’s no need for parking enforcement officers to nitpick in the location. Several times over the past two weeks, News 13 spotted cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans parked well onto the sidewalk. It would be hard to walk by, let alone get a wheelchair around the vehicle parked on the sidewalk.

The other top spots in Albuquerque are in Nob Hill near popular eateries, brew pubs and shops — the 100 blocks of Amherst and Bryn Mawr SE occupy the 3rd and 4th spots on the most heavily ticketed list — and Downtown, where blocks in the hub of the Central Avenue entertainment district average close to 1,000 tickets a year.

For Dominic Fierro and other drivers near UNM, moving just one block away makes a huge difference in the likelihood they’ll get a ticket. While the 100 block of Cornell Dr. SE is Albuquerque’s fifth-busiest ticketing spot, the city handed out just one third the tickets there that it did on Harvard.

“I don’t think people know about it,” Fierro said of the block’s reputation, “but they’ll know once they get one.”

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