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Downtown parking a thorny issue in Pa. town

May 08, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - If you try to park in Waynesboro, you not only have to find a spot, but you might want to keep track of changing parking rules.

The Waynesboro Council has changed parking rules relating to the downtown area three times over the past several months. The latest changes came Wednesday, when Waynesboro Council members unanimously voted to temporarily remove some parking restrictions on streets outside the core downtown area.

Parking restrictions along Main Street from Potomac Street to Fairview Avenue and from Broad Street to Clayton Avenue will be temporarily lifted once the no parking signs are removed. Vehicles were prohibited from parking on Main Street in those areas from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays.

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The Waynesboro Council removed some of the parking ban until the whole parking issue is finally decided.

However, the parking ban along Main Street from Broad Street to Potomac Street, which includes most of the downtown retail district, remains the same.

Parking in Waynesboro has been a controversial topic since December, when the Council established an ordinance creating the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. parking ban every day along Main Street from Fairview Avenue to Clayton Avenue as part of the borough's snow emergency plan.

Forced from parking overnight, residents who live along Main Street complained they couldn't find parking spaces and when they did, they were too far away from their homes.

The no parking zone also impacted residents on the side streets because their parking spaces were being grabbed by Main Street residents.

In an effort to solve the problem, the Council voted on April 16 to amend the ordinance to allow parking downtown overnight except Mondays and Fridays between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. for street sweeping. The snow emergency plan was still in effect.

Still not satisfied, members of the Retail Bureau of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce want to maintain the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. ban every day that the Council had originally created.

Doug Hartzok, president of the Retail Bureau and manager of James Shoes at 76 W. Main St., said the group agreed to compromise by putting the parking ban into effect along Main Street between Potomac and Broad Streets only.

Bureau members claim the parking ban gives retailers who are open evenings the advantage of retail parking space availability since it discourages tenants from taking up the spaces for overnight parking.

Hartzok also argues that the short-lived ban kept downtown Waynesboro cleaner because it deterred people from congregating. It also makes street sweeping easier, he said.

Retail Bureau members are also in favor of extending the parking meter hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week to help the retailers that are open for evening business.

But some oppose the bureau's plans, saying there's no consideration for downtown residential parking.

Ron Stitely, who lives on Grant Street and has been opposed to the parking ban from the beginning, said he's still concerned for the rest of the town.

"Someone's going to have to provide parking for these tenants," Stitely told Council members Wednesday.

John Leos, owner of the Candy Kitchen on Waynesboro's square who also lives above the business and leases apartments to tenants, said he's opposed to the parking ban and the Retail Bureau's proposal to extend parking meter hours.

"The meters are literally driving business out of the community," Leos said, by putting constraints on the shopper or restaurant patron who has to repeatedly feed the meters.

Leos and Stitely both said the overnight parking ban will eventually drive tenants from living downtown. Leos has suggested to Council the implementation of residential parking permits for residents.

The Council is considering holding another public hearing on the subject.

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