The Columbia Missourian filed a public records request with the city of Columbia for its parking ticket database for last calendar year. We intend to study the data and publish a story on trends of how parking tickets are given out. We also want to produce an interactive map showcasing when and where the most and least parking tickets are being given out.
The city got back to us with its price: $500.
The city’s rationale: The database is arcane, so it will take an outside vendor to convert it into something usable.
Similar databases have been used to illuminate parking ticket enforcement policies in cities across the country but never here in Columbia.
Are meter readers cutting out early on Friday afternoons? Is anyone out giving tickets during lunch hour? Is a gleaming new Escalade more likely to get a ticket than a beat up, old pickup? Are meter readers taking advantage of special occasions, like game day, to ramp up their ticketing? These are some of the questions this database will be able to answer. Plus, wouldn’t you want to know where to park to not get a ticket?
The Missourian has pitched in $150 for this Sunshine request. But we don't have much of a budget. We just need another $350 to make it happen.