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City Officials Should Take Parking Ramp Safety Complaint Seriously

Concerns raised by a city resident about safety in the Spring Street parking ramp should be taken seriously by Jamestown officials.

The resident spoke recently before the City Council and said he has personally broken up assaults in the ramp, been threatened and seen people hanging around in the ramp who likely shouldn’t be there.

“I don’t feel safe walking in the parking lot anytime, night or day,” the resident said.

It’s a situation that needs to be addressed, though we also note that new nuisance control police officers aren’t going to be available to help handle this issue. Police Chief Tim Jackson has increased patrols in the area, but that will only do so much. City police officers can only be in so many places at one time.

The reality is people will feel safer if there is an attendant in the ramp more often. Those using the ramps need to see more friendly faces in the ramps and visible signs of security — and then the city and its parking partners need to make sure the public is aware of the steps they’re taking to increase safety in downtown parking ramps.

Safety concerns in the parking ramps have a ripple effect for the rest of the downtown parking infrastructure. We’re all familiar with the complaints about downtown parking. One way to ease parking congestion downtown is to increase use of the city’s parking ramps. But if people feel unsafe parking in the ramps then they are likely to fight for closer parking spaces on well-lit, populated city streets.

The other reason to act quickly is a matter of reputation. For a city that is trying to build downtown vitality around niche shopping, restaurants and the National Comedy Center, the fact someone would raise these issues at a City Council meeting is a sign more should be done before the city ends up with a reputation that could take years to shake.

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