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Irwin plans to quash parking issues

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Irwin council plans to crack down on anyone parking more than two hours per day in the free parking places along Main Street.

Borough officials and the police department plan to begin documenting when vehicles park along Main Street and issue tickets to motorists who exceed the time limit.

Council removed meters in June 2011 in favor of free two-hour parking spots in order to encourage more shopping in the borough's Main Street business district and to make room to install ornamental light poles as part of the Hometown Streets streetscapes project.

It also increased the price of a parking ticket from $2 per violation to $10.

Councilwoman Peggie Watson said council intended to offer motorists a total of free two hours of parking on Main Street per day. But motorists typically misinterpret the ordinance to mean two hours per parking space and end up parking along Main Street for more than two hours each day, she said.

She suggested using a time-stamped camera to document which vehicles are parked along Main Street at any given time.

Public works director Jim Halfhill said several people, including business owners and their employees, park along Main Street all day. Every two hours, they move their vehicles to another space along the street instead of paying for a parking permit or using a meter in one of the borough's lots, Halfhill said. Officials offered parking passes for $17.50 per month, along with metered spots in the borough's parking lots but many motorists continue to park along Main Street, Benko said.

“This happens every day,” Halfhill said. “It's like they're playing the chain game, where people just move forward by a spot.

“It's the same cars and people doing it, every single day.”

Manager Mary Benko said business owners and employees taking advantage of Main Street parking always has been a problem.

Council President John Cassandro said it's important to enforce the parking ordinance strictly to make people cut back on abusing the free parking places.

“Our intent is for people to come into town, park, do what they need to do in two hours and leave,” Cassandro said. “Unfortunately, some people are trying to scam the system.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.tro

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