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500 petition Trafford to reverse new parking regulations

| Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Some downtown Trafford residents and workers are asking borough council to reverse its new parking regulations in the borough's business district after the removal of unmonitored coin-operated meters.

Roiled by the appearance of new signs in late May advertising the borough's new two-hour parking areas downtown, opponents filled the council chambers on June 3 to complain.

Council members defended changes they said they approved in March to make more spaces available to people using downtown shops and restaurants during business hours, but Council President Rich Laird said officials would review the criticisms.

Though the signs are up now stating parking is allowed for two hours — or by permit — officials say enforcement won't begin until July.

In particular, some people last week lamented the elimination of overnight parking for downtown residents for all of the 400 block of Cavitt Avenue, parts of the 300 and 500 blocks of Cavitt, and Fourth and Fifth Streets between Brinton and Duquesne avenues.

“To make it no parking overnight, what was council thinking?” said Bill Kornrumph, who runs Rumpshakers Sports Bar Grill on Cavitt.

Kornrumph said he helped to collect the signatures of more than 500 people who want council to rescind its decision to implement two-hour parking — including for three borough-owned lots — and making Fourth Street one-way from Cavitt to Brinton.

Kornrumph complained that many residents think the changes were made to clear parking spaces for the Manchester Room, which he said some in town deride as “the Taj Mahal.”

Council paid for the development of two new parking lots featuring 48 spaces for the borough-owned Manchester Room.

Two-hour parking is in effect for the lot that has an entrance off Fourth Street behind the rental hall unless events are scheduled for the banquet facility, but overnight parking is prohibited there.

However, overnight parking is allowed in the Manchester Room lot at the corner of Cavitt and Fourth and in another lot on Cavitt across from the post office.

But postal employees such as Bill Laspin are upset that the Cavitt lot near their office is included in the changes. Laspin said he and his co-workers, who often park there, now might have to move their vehicles throughout the day; buy a $100-per-year parking pass; or park farther away, which would lengthen their walk to the office.

“Start coming to meetings,” Laspin said to the audience after addressing council. “We got a wake-up call.”

Councilman John Daykon, who first proposed creating the business-parking district, said the changes downtown had nothing to do with the community room.

Instead, council decided to remove the aging meters — which cost at least $3,000 to recalibrate every few years — and impose restrictions preventing some drivers from leaving their vehicles in front of businesses all day.

Daykon said the changes fulfill one of the planks of the borough's comprehensive plan: adding more parking downtown.

“Cavitt is our business district,” Daykon said. “We understand that residents are there, but it's a business district first.”

Trafford hasn't had a meter attendant in recent years. With the lapse of an employee vigorously enforcing meter violations, council downgraded its expected annual revenue from meters from $3,500 in 2012 to $1,800 in 2013.

But council revised the cost of monthly parking permits by lowering the cost from $25 per month to $10.

“We tried to actually make this easier (on people parking downtown),” Daykon said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671.

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