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On Monday, January 25th, Bloomsburg Town Council voted to advance proposed changes to parking enforcement in the downtown. The Chamber and WHLM Radio presented results of polls that showed significant opposition to the plan. While increasing parking fees on Main Street was approved by resolution, a final vote on enforcement times is scheduled for February 8th.
The Town’s Administrative and Finance Committee recommended the plan to increase fees on Main Street and in the Square from 25 cents per hour to 50 cents per hour. The reason given by members of Council for this increase is to help pay for new parking meters. The increase was approved by resolution on a 5-2 vote.
Changing the enforcement times requires an ordinance change. Enforcement on Main Street would change from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. The reasoning for this change is to deter people living in the downtown area from parking in public spaces, keeping those spaces available for business customers. Advertising the changes was approved 4-3. Council is expected to vote on the ordinance change at their meeting at 7 p.m. on February 8th.
The Chamber has heard concerns from a number of business and property owners that these changes could impact customer patterns and be harmful to businesses in the downtown. A poll was created asking if people supported or opposed these two changes. Of 299 respondents that provided their contact information, 77 businesses and property owners were represented. Of the total respondents, 90.6% oppose the fee increase, and 93.5% oppose the new enforcement times. The WHLM poll asked only about the parking fee increase. With over 500 responses to that poll, 77% were opposed to the fee increase.
Detailed results of the Chamber’s poll are available here.
Following the January 25th meeting, a meeting was organized for business and property owners in the downtown to discuss the changes. A joint statement was developed and has been forwarded to Council.
Downtown businesses and property owners are also strongly encouraged to attend Council’s February 8th meeting. To guarantee that your comments are heard prior to the vote, contact Amy Seamans at Town Hall at 570-784-7123 ext. 117 no later than Friday, February 5th at noon.