Consistency Is Key In How City Handles Downtown Parking

Joe Town’s request for a loading and unloading zone in front of his Third Street business is certainly understandable.

It’s annoying to worry about feeding parking meters if you’re unloading restaurant supplies. It’s annoying to get a ticket because you get a phone call or find yourself in the middle of something that took longer than expected and end up forgetting to put more money in the meter or move your car.

We can understand Town’s frustration because other downtown restaurants have, over the years, had exceptions made in areas where there is more competition for parking. Council members have largely been accommodating over the years when a business owner has requested a change that can help their business. That’s a good thing – small business ownership is hard enough without things being made more difficult. But there is a flip side to that coin – the exceptions mean there is a piecemeal approach to meters and exceptions to the rule that it can be confusing both for those coming downtown to eat or shop and for those who own buildings.

Take, for instance, the spaces outside the post office on Third Street. Some are metered. Some are not. To the untrained eye it makes no sense why some spaces are metered and others are not, or why one person gets a ticket and another does not when they are parked 10 feet away from each other. Chances are, some time years ago, someone made a logical case for meters to be removed on that portion of Third Street between the front door of the post office to the park across from Jamestown High School.

Right now, it seems inconsistency is the most consistent thing about parking meters downtown. That isn’t a manifestation of this current City Council or city administration. It has built up over the course of decades. But consistency is something that should be considered both as the city considers Town’s request and in the future as it looks at the parking needs of what hopefully is a growing downtown.


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