Starting Monday, the City of Omaha is enforcing new parking violation fees and using a new device to immobilize vehicles with too many unpaid parking tickets.
Called the Barnacle, the panel blocks most of a car’s windshield until fines are paid.
Citation fees will now vary depending on the severity of the violation, instead of one $16 fee for all violations. Blocking a fire hydrant, for example, will result in a $32 fine and expired license plates will cost $100.
Drivers will also get a $6 discount for paying fines within 48 hours of getting a ticket.
Park Omaha on Monday will start attaching Barnacles to vehicles with three or more past-due tickets or with more than $108 in overdue fines.
The lightweight devices use 750 pounds of suction to attach to a vehicle’s windshield to immobilize it.
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Motorists can release it themselves with a code they will get by calling a number on the Barnacle to pay the fines.
Barnacles are then to be taken to a drop-off location within 24 hours. Each device has a GPS code to confirm its return.
Previously, the city used a wheel clamp called a boot to disable cars and towed them as soon as possible. With the Barnacles, payment must be made within 24 hours or the vehicle will be towed.
The Omaha City Council unanimously approved the new fee structure and the Barnacles in May.
The city didn’t use boots or Barnacles during May to give people a chance to pay up.