365体育官网The city of Brockton added parking meters to spaces that were once free on Main Street and Legion Parkway.
BROCKTON — New parking meters have sprouted up in downtown Brockton, leading to mixed reactions from drivers, residents and business owners in the area.
The city added a total of 157 meters on Main Street and Legion Parkway. The meters, which cost 25 cents per 15 minutes, replace spaces that formerly had signs for one-hour parking on Main Street, and others for two-hour parking on Legion Parkway.
For many, the new parking meters are an inconvenience and just another expense of living in Brockton.
365体育官网However, business owners, city officials and other residents of the city believe that the meters will improve the parking situation in the downtown area by deterring downtown employees and others from hogging up the free parking spaces all day, thus making it easier for shoppers find a place to park, get their business done and move along.We can deliver news just like this directly to your inbox. You can sign up for This Just In (a daily 7:30 p.m. newsletter with items we've posted that day), News Alerts (so you don't miss anything important) and more. It's customized to your preferences -- and it'll only take a few seconds.
Maureen Hamner, of Brockton, called it a "bad idea," costing visitors to the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, where many people go for prescriptions and doctors appointments.
"Brockton is just getting money hungry for everything," Hamner said.
Brenda Lelievre, who visits her doctor at the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center three times a week, said it's just more money out of her pocket.
365体育官网"It's a hassle," said Lelievre, who lives in Abington.
365体育官网However, businessmen behind Chez Elle Boutique and Legion Parkway Pizza, both on Legion Parkway, said they are in favor of the new parking meters. They help avoid what some city officials have called the "two-hour shuffle," involving drivers who move their cars one space over every couple hours to skirt the two-hour parking limitation.
365体育官网"I like it. Before this, most of the time, there is no space for my customers," said John Jouthe, who has owned Chez Elle for about a year, noting how people took advantage of the free parking previously. "People just come and park and leave their cars. They come to move them every two hours. ... They abuse it. They know the meter guys pass every two hours. ... It's good now. They know if they park anytime that the ticket guy is passing. I like it that way. It's a good idea."
365体育官网Brockton resident Mike Carroll, a former candidate for mayor of Brockton, said he appreciates the installation of more parking meters in the downtown area.
"It’s not about the money, it’s an attempt to limit the time," Carroll said. "Instead of someone staying parked there all day, it keeps the cars moving so someone else can have a spot."
Robert Malley, executive director of the city's Parking Authority, said the installation of new meters took place in early January, after the poles were first installed around Thanksgiving. In addition to adding 157 meters, Malley said the Parking Authority replaced some "hand-crank, coin operated meters."
365体育官网The new meters feature credit card and debit card readers, a payment method that comes with a 25-cent convenience fee. The new meters also accept coins — nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar coins, according to the Parking Authority. Drivers can even pay conveniently using their smartphone through the Passport Parking app, which allows drivers to extend their parking sessions remotely, if their errands ever take longer than they originally planned.
There are now roughly 375 meters in the downtown area, Malley said, in addition to various city-owned parking lots that also generate revenue for the Parking Authority. In 2018, 100 modern parking meters were installed on Belmont Street, Main Street, Cottage Street, Clinton Street, Crescent Street, Frederick Douglass Avenue and West Elm Street.
"The purpose of adding these meters was to free up spaces in the downtown so that businesses and organizations have a place for visitors and patrons to park," said Malley, in an email. "Previously, the great majority of spaces were being occupied all day by employees of businesses and organizations who moved their vehicles from space to space every hour or two hours in order to avoid parking tickets."
Malley said the city followed recommendations from a parking study conducted by the planning firm Nelson/Nygaard, which recommended on-street parking be made available for short-term parking, while off-street parking lots and the city parking garage be used for all-day parking.
"After about six weeks, as you probably noticed, this is working, and spaces are now available on-street for visitors in the downtown area, where they were extremely hard to find before," Malley said.
Rob May, Brockton's director of Planning and Economic Development, said "the roads are valuable assets" to the community, and the "two-hour shuffle" ruins parking in the downtown area.
"Managing those assets are one of the functions we are here to do," May said. "We have a lot of businesses on Legion Parkway on Main Street that count on parking spaces being available for their customers, not their employees or people who will be there all day. We need to turn that space over. Parking meters help control that."