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Parking meter increases coming in downtown Harrisburg

Updated: Thursday, January 16 2014, 06:17 PM CST
Reported by: Donna Kirker Morgan

HARRISBURG -- Many people are finding out a deal to lease parking garages in Harrisburg may not be a deal at all for people who work and play in the city.

The company that is now operating the parking garages and parking spaces are increasing meter rates and more.

Get out those quarters -- starting Feb. 1, the impact of pulling the city out of debt will be felt right here on Harrisburg streets.

“It's going to run a lot of people away, hurt the downtown businesses," said Ersel Wesley. He wishes the company Standard Parking would have phased in the increases and changes slower.

Currently, one quarter gets you 10 minutes at street meter parking. Soon it will be three quarters for 15 minutes or $3 for an hour. The company is also going to pull out the traditional meters and install meter booths that allow you to use more than just coins.

Chelsea Greenlee was downtown Thursday at a local pub.

“It already hurts our pockets to come down here in the first place. It would be nice to not have to go out and worry every five seconds if my parking meter is over,” she said.

On Standard Parking’s website, the company says there are in excess of 1,300 metered-parking spaces located throughout the city of Harrisburg.

Central Business District includes the area bordered by Front Street, Market Street, Fisher Plaza and Forster Street. Meters in the Central Business District are $.75 for 15 minutes or $3 per hour. Rates for the surrounding area are 30 minutes for $.75 or $1.50 per hour.

But that's not all -- you'll pay those rates from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, as you do now, but the rates will also be in effect for Saturdays. The extension into happy hours for local bars and restaurants has owners concerned, as well as the Saturday extension.

"It’s just concerning, because people on Saturday are not working. They are a different clientele that like to linger,” Tom Scott, owner of McGrath’s, said.

He fears that people may choose to go to happy hours near their homes, instead of staying in the city after work.

Many businesses say the new rates will hurt their employees because they often work short shifts or just a few days a week and often feed the meters to get by.

Parkway Parking took control of the garages in December under the Harrisburg Strong plan which leased the garages and street parking to the company for $270 million for the next 40 years.
Parking meter increases coming in downtown Harrisburg

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