On Monday, Bloomsburg Town Council voted unanimously to begin enforcing parking meters on Saturdays in the downtown commercial district. The stated reason for adding Saturday enforcement is to prevent the “warehousing” of vehicles in public spaces. While The Chamber supports the goal of keeping parking available for customers, President Fred Gaffney asked for more careful consideration of the issue before implementing changes.
Council first considered changing enforcement times in December of last year. The Chamber was joined by dozens of local businesses in asking for additional data on the perceived issue of vehicle warehousing and the development of a more comprehensive strategy for managing Bloomsburg’s parking inventory. The issue was tabled and the Parking Sub-Committee created. As there wasn’t time to coordinate an additional study of downtown parking utilization prior to summer, no additional data has been collected to date. At the request of Council, the Sub-Committee recommended that parking meter enforcement be changed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The Chamber conducted a poll of downtown businesses to gather their input on the perceptions of parking availability. Of the 36 businesses that participated, only seven felt that parking availability was most difficult on evenings and/or weekends. Twenty-nine of the respondents, representing 81 percent, were opposed to Saturday enforcement, and only 3 businesses were in support. The results of the poll were provided to Council prior to Monday’s meeting. Despite this input, Council voted unanimously to implement the changes.
Police Chief Roger Van Loan anticipates the changes will take effect in approximately six weeks after the information on the meters is updated.