Decatur Now Ticketing Metered Street Parking on Saturdays


For many years, Decatur had a sort of gentleman’s agreement with its residents regarding Saturday street parking.

If you had been around long enough, you discovered that the PALS – who write the city’s parking tickets – didn’t work on Saturdays, so while all official Decatur documentation about metered parking said that you needed to pump coins (and more recently credit cards) into the meters on Saturday, those “in the know” could save some cash on Saturdays.

However, with the installation of the upgraded meters last year, we were told that the city was evaluating commencing Saturday parking enforcement.  Well, apparently the evaluation period has ended and the city has decided to deploy the PALS on Saturdays too.

Asst. City Manager Lyn Menne confirmed with us that after 6 months of passing out warnings at expired meters, the city is now actively ticketing on Saturdays.

So be aware Decaturites!  Until 6p on Saturdays you now must to feed the meter or risk a ticket

Parking remains free of charge after 6p Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday.  More info on Decatur parking rules and locations on the city’s website HERE.

Photo courtesy of Marla Tiara

38 thoughts on “Decatur Now Ticketing Metered Street Parking on Saturdays”

  1. Lets go ahead and include Sunday – if it means we can lower the millage rate another point

  2. I’m glad to have consistency even if I can’t get away with as much anymore. Previously, if the kids were in the car, I always felt obligated to set an example and do the right thing by paying the meter. But I felt like a chump knowing that no one else was doing that.

    1. Not true! Tourists were payin’ it…

      Maybe we should program the machines to accept $2/hour but have the stickers say $10/hour. It’d be a locals-only discount.

  3. Why is parking free after 6 p.m.? There is probably a lot more demand at 7 p.m. than there is at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. Would it be too expensive to have evening parking enforcement?

    1. Geez. You want Decatur to squeeze every dollar out of folks trying to eat…is it not enough that they spend their money in the city? Demand is really high during the day because of courthouse traffic. What sucks for a lot of people is that they underestimate how long they will be at the courthouse and end up getting BS tickets for being parked in a spot more than 2 hours.

      1. Why is it a BS ticket? They chose to park there. The time limit is clearly stated. They went over their allotted time. Seems pretty clear cut to me.

        1. Don’t act like Decatur isn’t ultra aggressive about giving out parking tickets. Sometimes you end up stuck in court…I’m talking about ticketing someone who is only a few minutes over the limit. I think it’s garbage. A lot of folks coming to the courthouse aren’t flush with cash, are stressed, nervous, etc. Forgive me for having a compassionate point of view about it.

          1. I have compassion for the individuals who are looking for parking spots and are willing to pay but cannot find one because they are filled with non paying or expired parkers.

      2. Obviously, we wouldn’t want to set the rate so high that it drives people away from downtown and hurts our businesses. But $2 an hour doesn’t seem lot a whole lot to me, and I fail to see why the city should be giving away a scarce resource (on-street parking). People don’t have a right to free parking.

  4. The “PALS” do not write tickets anymore (which is good because some of them were very aggressive and a few thought they were police officers). The parking tickets are now written by one full time city employee and one part time city employee.

    1. Doesn’t PALS stand for Parking, Assistants, Liaisons with Merchants and Safety? We’ll have to call them ALS.

  5. Parking should not be free on Friday and Saturday evenings, when demand is arguably stronger than at any other time of the week. Meters should be enforced until 10 PM.

    1. Fri/Sat are also the highest demand for parking by non-residents- people coming from Atlanta are used to paying the meter at night, so let them pay. We residents know to park for free in the county deck.

  6. I see a lot of people try to pay after 6pm.

    One reason could be the City of Atlanta. In Entertainment/Restaurant/Hospital zones metered parking is until 10pm. People who eat out in Atlanta and park on the street are used to it.

    1. Right, so why not let them pay? It’s looks like we’re leaving money on the table for no good reason. If people are driving to Decatur to eat or drink on a Friday or Saturday night, why not ask them to pay a little money to park on a public ROW?

  7. STRONGLY agree with all those calling for the city to dump the “free after 6p” giveaway to non-residents. HELLO CITY COMMISSIONERS: before reaching in the pockets of the residents how about getting more revenue from visitors?????? Is this too much to ask???

    1. You shouldn’t have moved to Decatur if you didn’t expect extremely high taxes. That’s part of the deal. Decatur is overdeveloped and they didn’t do enough planning for parking, etc. Don’t punish people who are visiting…if you didn’t have them, what would you have? A bunch of closed restaurants.

      1. “Decatur is overdeveloped and they didn’t do enough planning for parking, etc.”

        While the first part is purely opinion, which many would disagree with, the part about not planning for parking is factually incorrect.

    2. This isn’t a resident vs. visitor discussion. Many residents drive downtown and park in the metered spaces.

  8. About the after 6PM thing — why artificially limit the amount of time a visitor spends in the city in the evening by forcing them to move within two hours? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

      1. They’re spending money at local merchants, to far greater effect to those merchants (and, by extension, the enviable environment it creates) than nickel-and-diming them does for anybody.

        1. It’s been said many times before but bears repeating: The downtown parking program is not designed to generate revenue. The sole goals are turnover of spaces while ensuring there is always some small inventory open (the revenue pays for the program — its infrastructure and enforcement — and does typically operate modestly in the black). Prices should be set to encourage long-term parkers to use the decks.

          According to the industry’s guru, Bob Gibbs, author of “Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development,” a single on-street space can equate to up to $300,000 in retail sales per year, but only if it turns over regularly.

          If you really care about our downtown businesses, you should support any effort that keeps cars coming and going.

          1. Yeah, but have you ever tried the old “Sorry, occifer, I know I’ve had too many Belgian trippel bock black lager lambic thingies but we’ve got to get these parking spaces turnt over!” excuse?

          2. Two points: First, this particular discussion has at least partly concerned the revenue implications of extending meter hours as a sop to sticker-shocked property tax payers, and that is the aspect I attempted to rebut. Second, look around at other municipalities. How many of them extend meter hours late into the evenings? Isn’t it possible that what’s good for a daytime crowd is not so for a nighttime crowd? If I was, say, an Avondale merchant, I sure know what side I’d be on in re Decatur parking regs. Stiffen ’em up!

            1. Yeah, I haven’t chimed in on that aspect of the conversation, so I will now. If we’re having a problem in the evenings with people finding parking because spaces are all filled and aren’t turning over (I don’t know if we are or not), then that would be the reason to extend enforcement.

              If it’s just an effort to create a new revenue stream then no.

              1. To your point…I have found myself skirting the city in the evening in the last year or so, and I do claim parking as part of the issue. My Twain’s dollar has been going to Sister Louisa’s of late….

  9. I’ve had conversations with people who visit Decatur and don’t know the deck is free on nights and weekends, but do know that meters are. If people become concerned that they’ll now be receiving tickets when they didn’t before, this could backfire for businesses. Atlantans are used to parking mostly being free. I agree a change in mindset is needed on that, but people don’t tend to return to businesses where they have been booted and I could see this being the same way. I’ve been booted when I paid for parking, and I would never step on that lot or visit that business again. Not worth the hassle or stress

    1. Things would be so improved for all, visitors and residents, if there was a way to cajole the County into improving its parking deck which is free after 6 PM. More lights and cleaner stairwells would be a game changer. Then all is needed is for the City to put up signage so people know that the County deck is an option. Right now, your occasional visitor and even most residents don’t know that it’s a viable option.

      1. It doesn’t bother me that the stairwells smell like pee, but the deck can feel a little sketch later at night, coming in and out on the Marta side, which should be the opposite in my mind. I prefer the main entrance where cars come in and out, but people here have said they use the Marta side without complaint. Anywho, but I’ve heard I haven’t heard of any type of robbery in that deck, but if it doesn’t feel safe, people may not use it. And yes, encouraging more people to use it, or just to know that it’s there, would be a good start.

        1. Agree. It doesn’t feel safe, whether or not it is. And the murder in another downtown Decatur parking deck doesn’t help with the perception of safety.

    2. “Atlantans are used to parking mostly being free.”
      Excuse me ? Where? in mall parking lots? Certainly not on the street or in non-mall decks.

      1. Anyone willing to walk a couple/few blocks can find parking near pretty much any night spot in the city

  10. We hear complaints about parking downtown all the time, and yet, downtown has “exploded” over the past five years. Anyone take a look at the Next Stop Decatur picture from 2009 when Sage and Birdies were still there and no Mac Magees? It looked pretty shabby – a FAR cry from what it looks like now. The market is telling us that downtown doesn’t need cheap and easy parking for it to be successful. People will come and spend a lot of money there because being there is more important than where they’ve left their car while they’re there. BTW – we don’t go downtown anymore, wait for it … it is too crowed. 😉

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