‘Dead Against It’
Business Owners Oppose Proposed Parking Changes
Proposed changes by city officials to downtown parking are not being met with joy by area business owners.
On Monday, the Jamestown City Council discussed a proposal to eliminate the two-hour free parking spaces downtown and to increase the cost of parking at a meter from 50 cents to $1 an hour. This is the first time this year city officials discussed the proposed changes and more discussion is expected to take place before any action is taken.
However, if you were to ask downtown business owners what should be done to the two-hour free parking spaces and cost of parking, in a word they would say “nothing.”
“I think it’s crazy,” said Tom Constantine, The Cherry Lounge owner, about the proposed changes. “Leave them all alone. I like it the way they have it right now. In front of my business, people can park for free for two hours. It’s nice to have that.”
Constantine said he is also against the proposal to double the cost of parking at a meter.
“I’m dead against it,” he said. “I’m not happy about it. It’s hard enough to get people downtown.”
Constantine said the proposed changes would definitely impact his business, located at 326 Cherry St., Jamestown, negatively around lunch time.
“People, who just got an hour (for lunch), like to park for free out front,” he said.
Cliff and Ann Powers, Lander’s Men’s Store owners, said they’ve been against any proposal to eliminate the two-hour free parking spaces downtown, which are located between Washington and Main streets between Second and Fourth streets.
“We’ve been fighting for years over this,” Ann Powers said. “I think if they put in pay spots a lot of businesses will leave. The downtown shoppers will just go someplace else.”
Ann Powers said about 15 years ago they circulated a petition against proposed changes at the time to downtown parking. She said 105 people and business owners signed the petition against the changes.
“We’ve fought it for years,” she said. “We don’t have the energy anymore. People can go to Walmart and plazas and not have to pay for parking there. Why should they have to here?”
Cliff Powers said city officials removed the parking meters in front of his store, located at 215 N. Main St., Jamestown, in 1997. He said what upsets him the most when city officials propose a change to downtown parking is they never ask the business owners their opinion.
“They have never come around to ask,” he said. “They don’t ask. They just do.”
Michael Bigney, Crown Street Roasting Company owner, said the removal of the two-hour free parking spaces and the addition of parking meters would negatively impact his business because people who work downtown would be able to “feed the meter” all day, which would cause there to be fewer parking spaces for his customers.
“We wouldn’t have the turnaround we need to have for downtown businesses to thrive,” he said. “It’s a good thing to have that turnover.”
Bigney said a lot of his business, which is located at 16 W. Third St., Jamestown, is “grab-and-go,” so having the free parking in front of his store is important. He said the way the parking is now is great because people have a chance to go inside his business to eat or have a cup of coffee without worrying about paying a meter. Also, because of the two-hour rule, people aren’t parked in the spaces all day, which makes them available to customers.
“It would certainly impact my business if we doubled our prices,” he said. “I don’t know if people will pay (the parking meter). The chance of a (parking enforcement officer) being right there is something someone would be willing to risk. I know I would. I wouldn’t put a dollar in the meter to buy a $2 cup of coffee.”