By Mary Spicer
The City of Meadville’s effort to make prime metered parking spaces in the downtown business district available for the use of patrons by encouraging employees to seek spaces a bit more off the beaten path is off and running.
Since Monday, Meadville Police Department’s parking enforcement officers have been placing letters on the windshields of vehicles they suspect may belong to individuals working in the immediate vicinity who are either feeding meters without moving their vehicles each time the maximum designated time expires or moving from meter to nearby meter. Distribution of the letters will continue through the end of July.
In addition to urging meter users to find alternative parking, the letter offers a discount of $5 per month for new renters who reserve a space by July 31.
During their monthly study session Wednesday afternoon, council members clarified the discount policy, stipulating that the $5 per month discount period will remain in place for six months, after which time the original reserved parking rates will apply. In addition, the six-month discount will also apply to individuals already renting reserved parking spaces in city lots or garages who move to a different lot or garage no later than July 31.
During the month of July, vehicles parked at expired meters or in illegal locations will continue to be ticketed. However, once August begins, officers will also begin a concentrated effort to ticket vehicles remaining parked in the same space beyond the two- or five-hour limit specified on each meter.
Once Nancy Mangilo-Bittner and Bob Langley, members of council’s parking subcommittee, have had an opportunity to evaluate the impact of both the initial letter and the discount period, a second letter will be prepared by city staffers and sent to each business that responded to the survey circulated by Mangilo-Bittner and Langley earlier this year.
According to City Manager Joe Chriest, the second letter, which is expected to go out in mid-August, will thank business owners for participating in the survey and encourage them to talk to their friends and neighbors about encouraging employees to procure rental spaces.
Once voluntary measures have had an opportunity to increase the supply of available customer parking in the business district, council will consider whether additional steps to restrict employee access to metered parking will be necessary.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.