ATLANTA -- On behalf of the hundreds of people who took the time to sign 11Alive's parking "Bill of Rights" petition, 11Alive hand-delivered the first set of signatures to one of several city officials who willreceiveour petitions.
In this case, Richard Mendoza, the Commissioner of Public Works, and the point man in the city's relationship with ParkAtlanta.
"It's a good relationship," said Mendoza. "In that we have open and free communication."
In fact, Mendoza's staff and ParkAtlanta meet once a month to make sure they're all on the same page when it comes to operations and enforcement.
But changes to the program are coming, soon.
"We're working diligently to upgrade our current parking management mission and vision statements of which can incorporate many of the ideas that you brought me today in a customer bill of rights and carry that message forward," the commissioner said.
"The very first step that we're taking right now is 1) clarify the appeals process, and 2) update the mission and vision value statement for parking management; do an inventory/condition assessment of all our signage and parking meters."
Those are some of the things many viewers asked for... better equipment and someone to listen and respond to them when there's a problem with the ticket.
"We're working with ParkAtlanta right now to make sure the integrity of that process is tight," Mendoza said. "So that we are responsive to the citizens who want for whatever reason to submit an appeal to their parking citation."
We asked the commissioner if the city was capable of policing ParkAtlanta. Mendoza was emphatic in his answer.
"We manage ParkAtlanta. And we hold them accountable to the requirement of the contract. Their requirements are that they exercise fair and equitable enforcement."
Mendoza considers the parking enforcement officers "ambassadors" of the city. And that's ironic, because it's the number of complaints we received about them that prompted our investigation.
"Their interface with the visitors is a reflection of the city itself; so sensitivity, customer service -- we place a very high emphasis on that. And from a management point of view, we're moving forward aggressively to make sure our officers have that necessary background training before they get out and interact with the public."