City to discuss two-hour parking
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 28,2013
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
A downtown parking meter guards its post on a recent afternoon.
Michael Coppinger said he is only aware of the rule on two-hour parking at downtown meters being enforced once.
“It was five years or so ago,” the executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership said Sunday. “An employee of Sabby’s was ticketed for feeding the meter. ... That’s the only time I’ve ever heard of it happening. It was brought to my attention because the employee didn’t even know it was an ordinance.”
More people may soon be aware. At Coppinger’s request, the Board of Aldermen voted last week to have the Public Safety Committee discuss a more active enforcement effort regarding the portion of the city parking ordinance forbidding motorists from taking up a downtown meter for more than two hours.
Reached Sunday, Alderman Sean Sargeant, chairman of the committee, said he had not had a chance to schedule a hearing or review the issue enough to offer any thoughts on it.
The board discussed the provision in 2011 when they altered the parking fines, noting that the new handheld devices the city police used for parking enforcement made it easier to track how long a car had been in a given spot. The board made no move to call for a greater enforcement effort of the two hour rule, though.
Coppinger previously brought up the two-hour rule in a notice that went out asking downtown employees to keep the spaces open during the Christmas shopping season.
“Basically, I’m doing the bidding of the first-floor merchants,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of merchants, both prior to the holiday season and post-holidays, bring it up to me. I’ve done everything in my power to educate folks and let folks know that it is a problem to have long-term parkers feeding the meter every day.”
Coppinger said he would not claim that a lack of on-street spaces drives shoppers away from downtown, but he said the spaces were still an issue.
“Making it convenient for shoppers is the job of my organization and should be the job of the city as well,” he said. “There are designated long-term spaces for a reason. ... My hope is that, through education, long-term parkers will make the right decision.”