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September 09. 2013 10:09PM

Nashua alderman proposes shortening parking meter hours

NASHUA — With the recent implementation of new parking pay stations downtown, additional changes could be forthcoming that would alleviate select parking fees for Main Street patrons.

This week, Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly is introducing a proposed ordinance that would amend the time patrons must begin feeding the parking meters.

Currently, parking meter regulations are in effect from 8 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. depending on the parking zone. However, Pressly is suggesting the meters not be utilized until 9 a.m. daily, allowing an extra hour of free parking for early morning downtown visitors.

“There are very few people who are parked downtown from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., so I can’t imagine this will bring that much controversy,” said Pressly. “I don’t think it generates a lot of revenue during that time frame, but I do think it is unfair to the businesses that are open that early in the morning to make the customers pay.”Eliminating one hour of parking revenue will be incredibly beneficial to the downtown diners, Pressly said.

Marylou Blaisdell of the Downtown Improvement Committee said Monday that the majority of her group is very supportive of changing the start of the parking pay stations from 8 to 9 a.m.

“That is one of the most quiet times downtown. Most businesses don’t open until 9 or 10, with the exception of the diners, so it is their patrons who are hit the hardest,” said Blaisdell. “The morning breakfast spots are impacted the most.”

When the downtown parking zones were amended nearly two years ago, the start time of the parking meters was pushed from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. Pressly said now is the time to revert the pay period back to 9 a.m.

“It will make a big difference,” she said.

Blaisdell agreed, saying those people who enter a diner at 7:30 a.m. either have to pay early to park, or leave their breakfast on the table to feed a pay station. The proposed ordinance will be incredibly accommodating to those downtown patrons and the merchants who serve those individuals, she said.

“Let us at least talk about changing the time. It should at least get a discussion,” Pressly said.

The proposed ordinance, which is also being endorsed by Alderman-at-Large Mark Cookson, will have its first reading at tonight’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Nashua City Hall.

The proposal will then be assigned to an aldermanic committee for further review and analysis.
khoughton@newstote.com


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