By Rebecca Martin
Last year, we did a poll to get feedback from citizens on the parking meters in Kingston.
I’m no expert on the subject, so I’ll rely on good old fashioned common sense.
How is it sensible to provide limited parking, poor signage for shoppers on where to park when street parking is not available and then issue parking tickets while someone is dropping a hundred bucks at one of our small businesses that aid in their staying afloat? The meter maids are the most organized game in town.
I don’t think meters are the answer. I have heard city officials proclaim that the meters were meant to keep business owners from parking on the street all day long. It has failed in doing so as many simply feed the meters all day long while the parking problems persist.
What is more likely to be true is the money the city raises through parking meters help supplement the city budget in a major way. Probably to the tune of $200,000 throughout the year.
What Kingston needs is a long range parking plan in our business districts. I am sure there are many successful models to look at in choosing one to fit in our community.
Here are some of the comments that we received. I ask that readers see this as a token – for if the city of Kingston chose to do a true study on proper parking practices, there would be a great deal of good information made available to help encourage instead of punish patrons while instructing business owners or operators and others to park in designated areas.
1. Don’t enforce the meters on Saturday and after 4 or 5pm during the week.
2. During the holidays, it was a pleasant surprise to park in the Village of Saugerties and find red bags over the parking meters with Happy Holidays on them. If nothing else, the goodwill generated by the gesture made the pain of spending Montano prices for my son’s shoes a bit more tolerable and we return (far too frequently!) for new shoes. But, I think about that whenever I park in uptown Kingston. How about a cheery bag over the meters on Farmer’s Market day saying “Welcome to Kingston Farmer’s Market” and likewise for the holidays, other significant days, etc. More than the quarter saved to park, it makes the city seem friendlier. AUTHORS NOTE: The city of Kingston placed Santa Hats on the meters during the holidays. It ain’t much, but it’s a start.
3. I think that each driver should get one pass/warning. But I also know that the city installed meters due to the fact that a lot of the motorists were parking all day which left no empty spaces for out of towners or customers to shop within the city limits. It is quite the quandary because people will not do a lot shopping within city limits if they have to worry about keeping the meter full while conducting their business. So without the business the parking dept, has to resort to meters to generate revenue. The money they spent on meters should have gone to construct an attractive parking that would have allowed people to park for free.
4. As long as you feed the meter, parking time should be unlimited. Weekends should be free to encourage browsing, sightseeing, and shopping.
5. I would like to see expanded municipal lots & possibly no charge parking on certain days or at certain times
6. I’d like to see the penalty $ by lowered to $10. Give us a break!
7. The Parking Meters, that used to be .10/hour in Saugerties are now .50/hour just like Kingston. Saugerties is now a complete ghost town.
8. Well, I’d sure like the city to put up P-signs for Parking: there are no signs on the lots, no signs directing people to them. I’m a resident and I had not reason to believe they were not private. There is one on Broadway on the north side near ONeil and one just off Broadway on Franklin… and they are totally neglected
9. Actually, the meters are important in deterring workers and business owners from preventing customers from parking. Bigger problem: more parking is needed in uptown.