Tyrone Borough Council has heard plenty of complaints about the price of the downtown parking meters that are being enforced by its parking enforcement officer on a regular basis.
The Ace Hardware store located at 1112 Logan Avenue approached council at its March 10 meeting requesting the borough to place a free 15 minute parking sign where Ace’s two parking meters are located at the storefront, but didn’t want the meters removed.
Customers have been complaining about being ticketed for not paying the meters in front of Ace, when those customers are only going into the store for five or ten minutes.
Council had turned down a request from the Pennsylvania House to remove the meters along 12th Street for additional parking, and Rick Day, owner of The Dog House, had also made the same request at the end of March to the borough.
Last evening, council unanimously denied Ace Hardware’s request for a free 15 minute parking sign in the front of the store. Councilperson Pat Stoner said that if the borough made an exception for one business, then it would have to do it for every business downtown that requested it.
“On this particular issue, I don’t see how we can do it for one person and not get in trouble with all the other merchants in town,” said Stoner.
Ace Hardware representative and employee, Clyde Hewett, told council that he respected its decision, but he didn’t feel that council was setting a precedent by granting Ace Hardware a free 15 minute parking sign where the two storefront meters are located.
“The post office has free 15 minute parking, so we’re not setting a precedent here,” said Hewett. “There wasn’t a problem until they (customers) had to put quarters in the meter.”
The parking meters downtown were replaced with new electronic meters that are presently calibrated to only except quarters. There are 144 newly installed meters in the borough, but originally there were 153 meters. Several meters are out of use in front of the YMCA building, and there are still several old meters that accept nickels and dimes scattered within the downtown area.
Councilperson Jennifer Bryan wants council to either remove the existing nickel and dime meters or place bags over the heads of the meters until the borough replaces them, because it causes confusion for citizens and business owners.
Presently, the new meters charge one quarter to provide a half hour of parking. There are no other options besides putting a quarter in the meter. If a person puts a nickel or dime in a meter, the meter takes the money but provides no parking time.
Vice president of council Bill Latchford said it was a great idea to replace the meters and get them calibrated to enforce parking, but he thinks council made the mistake of not discussing fully the price of the meters. He thought the meters would be set so that a quarter would provide a half hour, a dime would give 10 minutes, and a nickel would provide five minutes of parking.
“I thought that would be the best idea, and I thought that is what we did,” said Latchford. “All the meters went in and they’re all a quarter; it’s been profitable for the borough, but in the same token, it’s been an inconvenience.”
Mayor James Kilmartin requested that council looks into re-calibrating the parking meters, and setting aside money in the budget for next year so the meters will be a more traditional nickel, dime, and quarter system.
“We can’t do anything this year, but we can in the new budget for next year,” stated Kilmartin.
Council agreed that the borough will look into changing over the parking meters downtown in next year’s budget, but that is the earliest anything will be done about the situation.
“I think it’ll be very beneficial for the borough,” said Latchford. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”