February 8th, Bloomsburg Town Council did not approve changes to parking meter enforcement in downtown Bloomsburg. Members of the community made known the opposition to changes, including 51 joint business people. After restating their concerns and thanking Council for listening, Council members agreed to motion to re-advertise the ordinance with a number of changes to parking enforcement.
The Town’s Administrative and Finance Committee recommended the increase in parking fees on Main Street and in the Square from 25 cents per hour to 50 cents per hour and enforcement would change from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekdays and 10 until 2 on Saturday.
The rationale for this change is to discourage people living in the downtown area from parking in public spaces and keeping those spaces available for business customers.
The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce heard concerns from the community and business owners that these changes could impact customer patterns and be dampening to businesses in the downtown.
“Doubling the parking meter cost is just one more way people say they feel they are being nickeled and dimed when they come downtown,” says business owner Michael Fritz “And raising prices won’t make shopping downtown more attractive.”
According to Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, a poll was created asking if people supported or opposed these parking enforcement changes and with over 500 responses to that poll, 77% were opposed to the fee increase.
“I already got more parking tickets here than I ever did while living in Queens, New York,” says Bloomsburg University student Amanda Blasco “School is expensive as it is and the last thing I want is the town creating more ways to make money off of me.”
The public’s display of concern for the proposed parking prices and enforcement shows that people do care about downtown and want to be there.
“Parking concerns in Downtown Bloomsburg have been discussed for many years,” said Fred Gaffney, Chamber President “We look forward to working with the Town and other stakeholders to develop long-term strategies for parking management in Bloomsburg.”