Parking ordinance frustrates residents in Trafford
Over the years, Dorothy Fleming says, she dutifully paid for a monthly parking permit so she could leave her car overnight in downtown Trafford, near her Cavitt Avenue apartment.
But a new parking ordinance banning overnight parking in parts of the borough's designated business district has some residents, such as Fleming, befuddled.
And some business owners — who were among the intended beneficiaries for a new two-hour parking limit — are frustrated about the effects on their employees and customers.
Fleming, who has lived downtown for 20 years, said the new signs describing the parking rules — and a new debate among council members — have left her feeling “just a little iffy” about where she can park, and where she can't.
“They're stressing people left and right,” Fleming said. “What are you supposed to do with your car? Put it in your pocket?”
Only six weeks after the new ordinance took effect, some borough officials say it's worth reviewing it to determine whether they should modify — or even eliminate — some aspects. The confusion stems from council's decision to remove the parking meters but create parking guidelines that prohibit people from hogging spaces in front of businesses all day.
Opponents of the ordinance have packed the past three council meetings to plead for changes. Bill Kornrumph, a Cavitt tavern owner who led a petition drive to overturn the ordinance, even has suggested that residents will consider recalling council members if nothing happens.
Changes might be on the way. Council President Rich Laird said last week that he thinks parts of the ordinance should be “toned down.” In particular, he said, overnight parking on Cavitt should be allowed.
“It's a public street,” Laird said. “It doesn't interfere with any business, so I think (that prohibition) needs to go away.”
The two-hour parking limit on parts of Cavitt and in borough-owned lots also is causing some issues. Depending on the area on Cavitt, signs list the time frame as 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Mayor Rey Peduzzi said friends of his were worried about exceeding the two-hour limit while attending a recent show at The Theatre Factory.
“I, personally, do not believe there should be any two-hour parking limit after 5 p.m.,” Peduzzi said.
Some theater patrons attended a recent council meeting on the nonprofit organization's behalf, said Mike Byrne, board president.
“We are awaiting final decisions before we take any action at this point since it seems to be going back-and-forth quite a bit right now,” Byrne said in an email.
During a meeting last week, Councilman John Daykon questioned why his colleagues who voted unanimously to approve the ordinance earlier this year didn't raise any issues sooner.
Borough officials already spent money on new signs and staff time to install them, he said.
“Anybody that changes anything at this point is clearly going to cost taxpayer money,” said Daykon, who pushed for the ordinance last fall to help businesses.
But some Cavitt business owners, such as Larry George, say they don't think council thought the ordinance all the way through.
George, who owns an insurance business, said off-street parking spaces already are “few and far between” in Trafford. Given that he has five employees at his office, George said, he questions whether he would have to buy permit passes for them so they can park all day long near the office.
“We're having enough struggles here in this little town without compounding things,” said George, who frequently serves as the borough's Memorial Day parade marshal.
Changes to the parking permits are something that has worked in Fleming's favor, though.
Council reduced the monthly cost from $25 to $10 and set a $100 fee for a yearlong pass.
Of course, Fleming said, a police officer recently told her she has been one of the few who has been buying a parking permit.
Everyone else just took their chances.
“I'd rather pay the $100 and not have to worry about it, but I don't want to pay the money if I don't have to,” Fleming said. “I know they're not going to give me my money back.”
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.