Brownsville Police Say Illegal for Downtown Residents to Charge for Parking
BROWNSVILLE – Thousands of people are expected to fill the streets of Brownsville this weekend for the Charro Days festivities.
Some residents are making sure those people pay for their visit. They’re using chairs, city trash cans, buckets and other items to block-off parts of the street in front of their home.
But police say it's illegal.
Some do it to secure a parking spot, and some see it as an easy way to make a quick buck.
Brownsville resident Beatriz Sanchez said she makes "about $40 bucks" by blocking the area in front of her home.
Miguel Ruiz tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS it's a way to help make ends meets.
"It really helps me out because I haven't been working since October, because we work in the fields, in agriculture," he said.
According to police, what these folks are doing is illegal.
Investigator J.J. Trevino with the Brownsville Police Department said they can't block off a public street.
"The street, it's a public place. Just because you park in the street in front of your house, doesn't necessarily mean that that is your private parking space," he said. "If you have a driveway, that is your own property but you can't block-off, especially now that we have a very large amount of people coming down during these three or four days."
Trevino said drivers need to respect parking spaces reserved for people with illnesses or they can get ticketed.
Benjamin Ortiz has one outside his home because he has heart problems.
He said with the thousands flocking to downtown needing to park somewhere, people don't respect the sign.
"Then you're left driving around looking for where to park. I've had to park as far as the courthouse and had to walk home," Ortiz said.
The courthouse is about five blocks from his home.
Trevino said police will be cracking down on both - those parking where they shouldn't, and those charging to use a public road.
Ruiz said he'll take his chances and a shot at the money.
"If the cops come and tell me to move, then I'll respect it and move," he said.
Sanchez said she isn't taking any chances and decided to remove the items blocking the area in front of her home.
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