Biloxi Enforces Vieux Parking Restrictions

Randy Moen radioed his location to Biloxi dispatchers.

"In the parking lot of 796 Howard Avenue," he said.

Moen was standing next to a Corvette parked next to a yellow line. That line indicated the curb was off limits to parked cars. So Moen pulled out his citation book. Moen's beat is downtown Biloxi. His job is to enforce parking restrictions.

Larry Murphy has the same responsibility.

"Common sense would tell you don't park on the sidewalk," Murphy told one of the drivers who illegally parked in the Vieux Marche.

The driver responded with a smile.

"I kind of thought that," he said. "But I saw the other vehicles that were parked there. So I followed the leader I guess."

The driver got a verbal warning. Other vehicles illegally parked in the Vieux got citations. "For a short period of time, they will be given written warnings," Moen said.

After that, the parking violations could cost anywhere from $25 to almost $125.

The number 125 is a relevant part of this story. It's 125 steps from an illegal parking space to Vieux Marche's wide open parking lot along Washington Loop. That walk takes one minute 25 seconds. One of the shops in the Vieux is Java Joe's. Guess what -- a cup of coffee there $1.25.

Sherry O'Murray expects her downtown restaurant to feed off Biloxi's parking crackdown.

"It's very important," she said, "because I think our business will double."

O'Murray believes enforcing downtown parking rules will make it a lot easier for her customers to find a legal place to park.

Biloxi leaders thought their downtown parking worries would go away once Biloxi Regional Medical Center opened its parking garage. But police say many of the illegally parked cars are people doing business at the hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said the Biloxi Regional garage has 430 spaces. And that should be more than enough room for hospital employees and visitors.