PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is preparing to start its analysis of the parking meters in August.
A petition had been filed to eliminate meters from the newly constructed Summer Street parking lot. Berkshire Nautilus Owner Jim Ramondetta and manager Glenn McBurney have fought the meters saying it will harm their business and asking for the lot to stay free parking for 90 minutes, as it had been when the Columbus Avenue garage was there.
Council Vice President John Krol filed the petition on the gym's behalf and it will next be discussed by the council's Ordinance and Rules subcommittee after being rejected by the Traffic Commission.
Councilor At Large Melissa Mazzeo sits on Ordinance and Rules and gave a shot over the bow on Tuesday that she wants all of the information possible about not only the meters in that lot but the entire parking management plan.
"We shouldn't be afraid to go out and reevaluate this whole parking plan... I just want to have as much information of the past as we possibly can," Mazzeo said. "If it is a detriment to the community we shouldn't be afraid to stop and fix it."
Mazzeo would like to know what lots are planned to get metered or not, where they are and how they are used, she'd like a copy of the originally parking study (which is available here), details about maintenance needs of garages, and information about the demand issues at the First Street lot.
Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell wants a report on the usage of each meter to determine where meters would best be placed. And Councilor At Large Peter White would like a report from the Council on Aging about how many seniors are using the Melville Street lot spaces outside of the designated ones for the center.
"I really think we need to look at everything. I would like to see the performance of these kiosks and let's make some definite changes," Connell, who has been pushing for meters to be added to Wendell Avenue for a couple of years to no avail, said.
And Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi wants "concrete numbers" showing the revenues and expenses. iBerkshires recently took a look at the finances of the meters to date, which can be read here.
An updated look at the parking meters has been called for by just about everyone - the public, the council, Downtown Pittsfield Inc., and downtown businesses - to determine the effectiveness of the parking meter plan and make any needed changes.
"We hear we don't want to have winners and losers in this but we have that," Krol said, saying the current system is not equitable across the board.
The plan the consultants was never fully implemented. Concessions were made on the plan by Mayor Linda Tyer's administration when the meters first went into place to leave some timed parking spots on side streets. Some of the lots were also kept timed but only until renovations happened - both the First Street and the Summer Street lots have recently been redone.
The parking plan was created in 2014 and the meters were installed in January of 2017. The council now has two years of data to look at before making decisions as to what changes to make to the meter system.
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