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On October 4th, 2016, a statement was issued to only a handful of businesses within Newtown Borough, Pennsylvania, which read as follows:
"Newtown Borough Council will be instituting paid parking in the Main Lot between Washington Ave. and Centre Ave. starting in January 2017. All spaces will be numbered and will have a cost to park except handicapped spaces. All numbered spaces will be a 3 hour max parking with a cost of $1.00 per hour and may be renewed after 3 hours. Parking will be the same of as is now, Monday to Saturday 8 to 6 PM with Sunday, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day being free. There will be no charge for parking when lot is snow covered. The 14 30 minutes parking spaces will be monitored and have a fee of $.50 for 30 minutes with no extension of time. The Kiosk will accept coin, dollars and credit and debit cards. Both entrances will be signed in December alerting parking cars of the date of paid parking. I will provide flyers to hand out in all stores alerting shoppers of the paid parking lot and date of start. The second phase of this will be in 6 to 8 months after the start. Which will be firmed up after this time frame. It will include paid advertising on the screen, coupons on ticket, restaurant and stores ability to discount for paid parking, internet app to allow access to parking kiosk to extend time and many other ideas to be discussed. Numbering of State Street from Green to Penn street will be reviewed in 2017 and start sometime thereafter. Permit lot off Penn Street will remain the same until Steepleview II has started.”
Then on October 5th, a vote was supposed to take place, without the public knowing, to authorize 3 parking kiosks. Luckily, the community found out and spoke up. Paid parking will have a negative effect on visitors, new business, existing business, and residents. As a local real estate agent, I believe that paid parking will deter people from visiting the borough, not encouraging them. Newtown Borough is alive and strong, but also fragile. A small change in the operations of the Borough could throw everything off course. It is important to look at other small towns that implemented changes like this. It was not always successful, and almost always took away from the charm that the town had to offer.
I am proud of the Newtown community for standing up and voicing their opinion. Let us hope they listen and keep paid parking away from Newtown Borough.