Parking in the village of Fredonia is either too hard to find or not well-enough enforced, depending upon with whom one speaks.
At a recent workshop meeting of the village board, Chief of Police Bradley Meyers explained merchants have given him conflicting information on the availability of parking for customers.
"A while back, I was approached by a local merchant about a problem with parking," he said, and relayed the merchant's belief college students were parking all day in parking spaces designated for two-hour use.
OBSERVER File Photo
The Fredonia Village Board discussed daytime parking options at a workshop Monday.
"In the past, we always used soft enforcement, with the goal being customers shopping at local merchants. After we started enforcing more strictly, some merchants complained, saying there was not enough parking for them," he said.
However, Meyers told the board he drove through the parking lot behind the business strip on Main Street during business hours and counted 30 available long-term parking spaces.
When complaints about students taking up parking spaces arose in the past, he said some investigation determined the problem was more likely from merchants and their employees parked in spaces throughout business hours.
Meyers said the current parking terms were laid down by the village board about eight years ago, with input from merchants and residents. "The parking now is all by design. If anyone wants it changed, then they have to come to the board," he explained.
Trustee Joseph Cerrie said he agreed the current parking structure was a collaborative effort between members of the village, including merchants, and the board.
"The problem is I know you might be getting fallout from both sides," Meyers explained to the board, after they discussed the history of the current village parking rules in the business district.
Trustee Janel Subjack said she heard from a resident who was left a letter on her windshield, allegedly from a merchant, stating the merchant paid for the parking space and she shouldn't park there, but judging by photographs Subjack showed Meyers, the space was public, not private. Meyers explained there are no parking spaces in the village which are permitted exclusively to certain individuals or purchased from the village as reserved parking.
Subjack said very few customers of Main Street businesses use the rear lot on the west side of Main. "You have to walk up a hill, walk up stairs," to get to businesses and enter from the rear, she said. However, the use of the lot instead of street parking by merchants and employees was questioned, and it was noted 10 to 15 parking spaces in the rear lot became available during daytime business hours after Tradition Insurance agency left the building on Main Street.
Various alternative parking rules were discussed by the board and police chief, including the use of signs restricting certain spaces or lots to designated hours, or selecting areas to be used for parking by permit only, which would be issued via a lottery system.
Meyers said he thinks there is currently sufficient parking for merchants during the daytime. After Nov. 1 the parking rules in the village change, and overnight parking will not be allowed on most streets.
"I can't tell you what it (parking) will be like when overnight parking starts," he said, but reiterated his belief parking for businesses is sufficient as long as customers are rotating out of the spaces during the day. "As it is now, I feel there is enough parking, but I'm here to do whatever (the board) tells me," he said.
Trustee Adam Brown suggested the board revisit the parking discussion after the ban on overnight parking begins and the board concurred.
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