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December 18, 2014

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Not feeding the meters at Town Square? Not to worry

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Pat Lachler feeds a meter at Town Square Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.

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Parking meters are seen in the Town Square shopping center Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.

Map of Town Square

Town Square

6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South , Las Vegas

Technically, the coveted metered parking spaces sprinkled around Town Square aren’t free.

Fifteen minutes in one of the 200 prime spots (which are usually directly in front of shops and restaurants) costs 25 cents, with the meters maxing out at two hours per coin feed. But what’s the penalty for neglecting to pay up?

Besides a “courtesy ticket’’ amounting to a gentle complaint, it’s nothing. Violators aren’t fined and their vehicles aren’t towed, said Jaimesen Mapes, marketing director for the 6-year-old, open-air shopping mall on Las Vegas Boulevard, south of Mandalay Bay.

Visitors are slowly catching on, and many are opting not to pay to park in the metered spots. Town Square officials, however, continue collecting money from rule-sticklers and those seemingly unaware of the mall’s parking policies.

A group of shoppers visiting the shopping development Wednesday night had mixed reactions to Town Square’s handling of parking meter violators.

"If they were enforcing it, people would not come back," said Vanessa Roberts, who said her husband was contracted to tow vehicles from the property in 2007, when the mall first opened. Property officials have since stopped requesting tow services for meter violators, she said. "I used to pay, but I’m not doing that anymore."

Becky Warnick, who normally avoids the spots because of the fee, was one of several who were pleasantly surprised to learn property officials don’t actually penalize visitors for not feeding the meters.

"I never knew that," Warnick said with a smile. "I’ve always paid for those stupid meters."

Most patrons were curious, and some were misinformed about how Town Square uses collected coins. Some thought the money was donated to charity; others believed it was used for landscaping.

Instead, Mapes said, the mall uses the funds to maintain the meters, which are meant to offer visitors short-term parking if they need to run in and out of a store quickly.

Visitors who don’t want to pay to park can use one of the other 5,300 spots in Town Square’s lots and garages.

"The whole design is to create convenient turnover in space," Mapes said. "The majority of the money goes back to maintain the program."

Mapes declined to say how much revenue the meters generated but noted the amount was negligible.

“It’s meant to be a convenience for guests. It’s not a money-making venture by any means," Mapes said. “And fewer and fewer people are putting money into the meters."

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