Chris Van Horne, Fort Worth Reporter
Fort Worth is cracking down on illegal parking to make deliveries faster and safer and encourage more quick stops at stores and businesses.
Holiday shoppers parking around downtown Fort Worth should check where and for how long they're parking.
The city has recently stepped up its parking enforcement efforts because of the safety and speed of deliveries.
Fort Worth said drivers parking in loading zones have increasingly forced delivery vehicles into traffic lanes or to park further away.
"Regular vehicles will park in a commercial loading zone and, then, when a commercial vehicle comes up, the loading zone is either stacked or full," said Peter Elliott, city parking manager.
It leads delivery trucks to double-park or park blocks away or in spots not designed for unloading and loading.
Elliott said it is first and foremost a safety issue that affects business -- both the delivery companies and businesses receiving deliveries.
"Fort Worth is now a top 20 city in the country," he said. "Clearly, the thing that is the life blood in the city is business, is commerce, so we have to do everything we can to facilitate that."
The city warned people with fliers for months that it would step up enforcement. And the city says its efforts are here to stay.
"At the end of the day, it's for the best," Elliot said.
A small group of city employees clad in neon yellow is now tasked with writing tickets and enforcing parking rules. And their jobs are to only do that.
"I think it's a good thing actually," Elliott said. "We're giving a better service to the public, tying parking enforcement to parking. That makes a lot of sense."
While the focus is on commercial loading zones, the enforcement effort also extends to all parking spots.
"The focus is always how can we get more people into the core of our downtown areas," Elliott said.
Jason Goran, of Dallas, made sure to feed the meter because he was warned about the enforcement patrols.
"[A] dude I am working with got a ticket last Thursday," he said. "Two tickets in, like -- I think he was here an hour and a half and he got two tickets, so you definitely see them patrolling."
Elliott said there was an outcry over the enforcement when it first started, but the city is working with to educate people about why it's happening. City workers left fliers about the enforcement since January and began enforcing parking rules within the last two months.
Fines for parking in a commercial spot range from $30 to $100.