What to know when parking in Harrisburg - abc27 WHTM

What to know when parking in Harrisburg

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Bryan Bykowski has been working in downtown Harrisburg and getting quite the workout feeding his parking meter throughout the day.

"I'm running back and forth," he said. "Quarters, quarters, quarters, quarters - they only give you 10 minutes."

Bykowski was not pleased to hear that Standard Parking, the company now operating the city's parking meters, plans to raise rates. The 10 minutes per quarter will soon jump to 75 cents for 15 minutes.

Parking garage rates increased in late December.

"The rates have been increasingly absurdly. It's getting a little crazy," Bykowski said.

Standard Parking has not yet set a date for the rate hike, or its new meter hours.

Parking is currently free after 5 p.m., but soon the meters will have to be fed from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Workers have started issuing warning tickets to notify people of the time change.

The transition of the Harrisburg Parking Authority to Standard Parking by way of a 40-year lease was a part of the recovery plan that helped rid the city of its mountain of debt.

Another part of the recovery plan was the creation of a parking advisory board, where those who live and work in Harrisburg can voice their grievances and suggestions in hopes of persuading Standard Parking.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse said that committee should be formed rather soon.

"I'm trying as much as possible on them to get that up and running as soon as possible," he said.

The sooner the board is formed, the better chance for change. According to Papenfuse, there is at least a little wiggle room to negotiate.

"It is possible to make some adjustments within the overreaching rubric of the plan," he said.

If nothing else, paying the meters may get easier. Starting next week, 35 new parking meters will be installed Downtown. The new meters will accept credit cards and give users the option of receiving a text message when their time is expiring.

In early March, another 88 meters will be installed around Midtown. Because the old meters will be obsolete, the Express Keys will be as well. Options such as personalized accounts with PIN numbers are being discussed.

The new meters can also be linked to the ParkMobile smartphone application. The app will alert people when their time is about to expire, and they could pay by phone. Another feature shows where spaces are available.

"We want people to avoid getting tickets," Standard Parking spokesman Chris Sherman said.

Standard Parking recently doubled fines from $14 to $30; $50 if the ticket isn't paid within four days.

John Maple is one of those who received a ticket. He was unaware tickets are now paid at the new Standard Parking office on Walnut Street. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but there is a drop-box on the wall left of the entrance.

"I don't know what I can say. I don't like it," said Maple. "There's an increase for this, an increase for that. There's no compensation for the hard-working folk that really don't make a lot of money."

Several people have contacted abc27 about the confusion on where to pay residential parking permits. Sherman acknowledged there is an issue and said Standard Parking and the city are working to hash it out. In the meantime, wait for further notice.

Sherman said over the next two weeks, Standard Parking will begin to provide information and offer promotions to restaurateurs and retailers.


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