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Parking confusion downtown

January 29, 2014 - Local business owners said they are confused why city officials created a Streets, Sidewalks and Parking Committee if they were not willing to hear the committee's suggestions regarding what should be done about parking.

On Jan. 13, City Council approved issuing tickets to drivers who violate city parking rules, such as parking longer than two hours in time restricted spaces.

Part-time employee Ralph Daigle is issuing the tickets on a trial basis.

City Manager Carol Eberhardt said revenue raised from tickets issued will be used to pay Daigle's salary.

Business owner Christina Calka is also confused over discussions she has had with the city manager over what she thought was discussions about parking spots in front of her clothing shop, the Village Fashion Boutique.

"I thought she was asking me about the parking spots in front of my business, not the lot across the street, which is a completely different story," said Calka.

Councilwoman Peg Roth agreed with Calka and said he she does not think it's a great idea to put a time limit on people visiting the city.

"A lot of times I have customers who stay longer than two hours," said Calka. "Why penalize people for coming here and spending money?"

Councilman David Marsh said the same thing at a meeting, and issuing tickets to visitors is like telling people not to come to the city.

Roth, like other members of the committee, suggested instead of ticketing drivers, the city should install signs to let people know where they can find additional parking.

Marsh, a newly elected councilman, told other council members during the Jan. 13 council meeting the committee discussed issuing parking tickets. But they felt installing signage would be a better idea.

Both Roth and Calka said they have not noticed a parking problem downtown, and agree removing time limiting signs would be much better than issuing tickets.

Calka said she does not like the idea of customers being targeted when they are visiting the city.

One resident, who lives downtown, said his parking has disappeared from all the snowfall lately.

The committee will meet again this week to discuss parking options in the city. Roth said concerns will be mentioned at a Jan. 28 council meeting.

–Andrea M. Beaudoin

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