Parking meeting draws a crowd | SierraSun.com

Parking meeting draws a crowd

David Bunker

Town officials had outlined 10 items for discussion at Wednesday’s meeting on downtown paid parking, but only got through the first – public comment.Approximately 40 Truckee residents and business owners gave the parking committee an earful on the paid parking district, and much of it was critical of the new meters.”I’ve heard it over and over again from locals that they are not going to come to my store – and that is devastating to me,” said Marcy Dolan, owner of the Sierra Shades shop on Commercial Row of the comments she has received since the meters went in.Restaurant owners, who employ many more workers than retail shops, said the employee permit program needs to be altered. At $360 a year for a single employee permit, Moody’s co-owner J.J. Morgan said that he will have to pay out thousands of dollars annually for his employees to park.”Just so we have a handle on what this means financially, it will cost us $9,000,” Morgan said. “I don’t think the downtown paid parking was meant to derail a business.”Town officials said that employee permits will be transferable between employees. Employee permit areas will be enforced beginning Dec. 1.Morgan said that the employee permit program should be altered so that retail businesses, which employ a smaller number of workers, and restaurants bear the same impact from the district.”If there is going to be an impact, it should be fair – one business shouldn’t be tagged and another benefit,” Morgan said.Several residents asked that the meter rates be simplified, such as a flat rate of $1 an hour or 25 cents for 15 minutes. The current rate structure charges $1 an hour for the first two hours and then $2 for the third hour and $3 for the fourth hour. Other business owners and residents on West River Street and Church Street wondered whether metered parking was appropriate off of Commercial Row.”We’re basically not in the same predicament as downtown – meaning Commercial Row,” said Brent Cutler, owner of the Sports Exchange.But Town of Truckee staff warned people not to rush to judgment on the new meters.”The system has been in operation for all of three weeks and people have formed their opinions,” said Truckee Public Works Director Dan Wilkins. “We need to be cautious in not overreacting to a short snapshot in time.”Meters in a minute• Parking meters will accept as little as a nickel, which will purchase five minutes.• Meters accept credit cards, but require a $2 minimum charge for credit purchases.