Metro Nashville City Council Considers Street Parking Overhauls: Implementing License Plate Scanners to Eliminating Free Parking on Sundays and Holidays


Metro Nashville City Council is considering a complete overhaul of street parking through a proposed “Smart Parking Program.” The legislation would overhaul the current street parking system (located as item number 44 under Bills on Second Reading). It would allow contractors to enforce parking violations; shift court date notifications, payment systems, and notice methods to a web and text message-based system; and implement license plate scanner technology. It would abolish free parking on Sundays and holidays, the use of coin-operated meters, and free parking perks for carbon neutral vehicles.

The bill also insisted on updating the term “meter maids” to “parking enforcement patrol.” The sponsors of the bill are Council members Freddie O’Connell, Robert Nash, Tonya Hancock, and Ginny Welsch.

Free parking on Sundays and holidays is a minor hallmark of a bygone era, attributable to Tennessee’s history as a Bible Belt state. Tennessee once acknowledged certain “blue laws” – also known as Sunday laws – that were designed to deter or prohibit work on the Sabbath and encourage churchgoing and religious fellowship. Currently, the remnant of those values is evident within the laws restricting liquor sales on Sundays and certain holidays like Easter.

The legislation didn’t indicate why the sponsors decided to get rid of the free parking provisions.

One aspect of the legislation that might spark some privacy concerns are the license plate scanners. Left-leaning organizations like the ACLU and Brennan Center for Justice have predicted that these technologies grant law enforcement a dangerous gray area when it comes to probable cause and warrants. On the other end of the ideological spectrum, organizations like The Heritage Foundation have argued that this technology would facilitate the justice system.

Neither of those arguments were addressed during the second reading on Tuesday.

Councilman Steve Glover voiced his concerns that the proposals may have unexpected, hefty costs. Glover suggested that the legislation be given over to the Budget and Finance Committee for further vetting. O’Connell agreed.

Without much further discussion, the council voted to defer the measure by one meeting and refer the legislation to the Budget and Finance Committee.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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2 Thoughts to “Metro Nashville City Council Considers Street Parking Overhauls: Implementing License Plate Scanners to Eliminating Free Parking on Sundays and Holidays”

  1. 83ragtop50

    What a bunch of lunatics. Just more possible reasons to NEVER again go to Nashville. Let them drown in their own sewage.

  2. nicky wicks

    going downtown is already prohibitively expensive. and they want to make it worse.

    and in the middle of a pandemic too when tourism is dead.