Dancing to the ban

Friday, December 6, 2019

We think the City should curtail its advancing effort to ban after hours Main Street parking year around because it may cause more problems than it resolves.

Every day of the week we, area residents, City and County officials, CAEDC, CIC, CDC, Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, and regional consumers work to attract commerce, visitors, shoppers and their MONEY to town. We open our arms and hearts to newcomers. We encourage and cater to our young entrepreneurs, or by golly should. We need them and hope and pray they realize they need us, too.

Economic development means people and people means tax dollars and the amenities they provide, and amenities mean quality of life, and quality of life means economic development, and economic development means people, and people means…And the circle goes unbroken…

A proposed City Ordinance that advanced in its second reading last week would prohibit parking on Main Street from 1st St. to 4th St. between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. year round. A third and final reading is in the offing unless there is a hue and cry from Joe Public. The Council meets again 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.

The proposed ordinance also changes the snow emergency chapters of the current ordinance to the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. whenever there is 2” or more of snow on the streets and/or whenever there is 2” or more of snow forecasted by the National Weather Service.

The proposed ordinance would also change the current ordinance which restricts parking on Emergency Snow Removal Routes from October 1 to April 1 of each year between the hours of 2 a.m. until 7 a.m., to restricting parking on these streets from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. during and for a period of 48 hours after cessation of a snow event.

The reasons for a Main Street parking ban are easy to comprehend. It’s a one-shot fix-all that makes it easier for all involved except motorists, visitors, diners and bar patrons, and our downtown merchants who could be negatively impacted to varying degrees by this catch-all approach.

For instance, there are now two all-hours B&Bs downtown, with a third coming soon. The hotel is now an apartment complex that requires parking. You can’t solicit visitors and businesses to come to town and then deprive or inconvenience them with avoidable regulations that encourage them to stay away.

Another for instance - Joe Public quaffs a few too many in a downtown bar. Knowing you don’t drink and drive, he snags a ride or walks home, leaving his car on Main Street where he’ll be ticketed. Leave car sit and pay the fine? Or feeling lucky and drive under the influence? Hmm-mm.

What about that poor family with all the kids who did their Christmas shopping locally and the car ran out of gas or wouldn’t start? So, they walk or hitch a ride home and plan on rescuing the car next day. They can’t afford the ticket they’re probably going to get.

Police say snow removal is the biggest issue, and add that parked cars inhibit street cleaning and putting up flags and other decorations for holidays. This is true.

The question posed is employee or consumer convenience? Take your pick.

(Paul Struck)