Parking remains intact |

Parking remains intact

City Hall officials have scrapped an idea to prohibit parking on a small stretch of Park Avenue near Main Street, saying merchants and neighbors quickly panned the idea.

Brian Andersen, who manages the parking operations for City Hall, said about 20 merchants and neighbors contacted the Public Works Department after the idea was publicized. The opinions were "overwhelmingly against" prohibiting the parking, Andersen said.

"It’s a concern, I think, to those businesses," Andersen said.

The Public Works Department had considered prohibiting parking from the west side of Park Avenue between Heber Avenue and 9th Street. There is heavy traffic on that stretch of the street, with buses, neighbors and people driving to and from Main Street frequently on the street.

The department has said there are a "significant number of minor auto accidents" on the stretch of Park Avenue, prompting the idea of the parking prohibition. Andersen has said banning parking on one side of the street would have reduced the accident rate.

About 10 parking spaces would have been eliminated under the proposal.

Some businesses close to the parking spaces were unhappy with the idea, arguing that they could lose customers if there were fewer places for people to park.

Jesse Shetler, the principal owner of Butcher’s Chop House, a restaurant close to the parking spaces, told Andersen in a September letter the loss of the parking spots could affect nearly 7,500 customers each month.

"(Butcher’s) employs approximately 50 hard working people that count on those spaces to help fill our restaurant every day and every night. Eliminating those spaces means that the city will also be eliminating customers," Shetler wrote in the letter, adding, "If these spaces were so insignificant, then why are they full all of the time?"

Main Street merchants for years have been skittish whenever City Hall considers tinkering with parking policies, and ideas to eliminate parking spots are infrequent.

Jay Hamburger

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