St. John’s Coun. Debbie Hanlon had a strong message for people taking advantage of the rash of broken meters downtown: “Shame on them.”
The council lead on transportation said people who work downtown are parking all day at the broken meters, taking up precious storefront parking for customers.
As a result, the city will ticket anyone who parks for more than two hours at a damaged parking meter.
Signs to that effect have already been erected in parts of downtown, and Hanlon said more signs will soon go up in key areas identified by city staff.
While the signage is going up immediately, Hanlon said there will be “more of an announcement” before ticketing is implemented, indicating it would begin in the near future.
When the city initially started dealing with the broken meters, it agreed it would not ticket people who parked at them for extended periods.
However, Hanlon said there were only a few broken meters at that time, but now “almost all of the meters are broken.”
“We have to do something to help the downtown businesses,” she said.
“People that stand in front of someone’s business and park their car while they go to work at another building – shame on them,” she said.
“Everybody says, ‘I’m not parking there’, but if you drive up someone is parking there and it’s usually staff or people downtown. People just need to be more considerate, and it’s unfortunate that we have to put in these restrictions, but we see no other way around it.”
Hanlon said people who work part-time downtown and can’t afford parking garage fees could car-pool or take the bus.
“There’s other ways to get downtown besides just taking your car and parking it in front of a retail store all day long just because you’re lucky enough to get a broken meter, so I just say shame on them,” she reiterated.
Hanlon said the signage will explain to drivers that there’s a two-hour parking limit at the damaged meters and if they go beyond that time they will be ticketed.
She said it will be the same fine as an expired meter ticket.
Hanlon said it’s a temporary measure while the city scrambles to update what she called its “obsolete” parking meters.
The city is working to move to cashless and pay-by-phone parking systems downtown.
Hanlon said the downtown core isn’t the only part of the city struggling with damaged meters, alluding to problems on Freshwater Road near Ches’s Fish and Chips, and in Churchill Square.