Way back in November 2018, I created a post letting folks know that $1 per hour parking was coming to Chester from the Pango App. No one paid attention to that post.

A few months later, parking meter poles started showing up on Widener University’s campus but Widener put a fuss and got a judge to not allow it to continue to the point that meters would be installed on those poles.

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Downtown Chester at 3:30 pm on a Tuesday

 

A few months later, parking meters started showing up in downtown Chester. Now, everyone is trying to figure out how all this came to be. At first, city government officials defended the meters as something you’ll find all around Delaware County while residents and business owners continued to complain that they’re losing business from their regular customers who can’t justify $2 per hour parking or have been issued the $35 violation for not feeding the meter.

A few unflattering newspaper articles and damning TV news reports later, city government claims they hear your cry and according to the Delaware County Daily Times have made the following updates to the parking meters. Apparently a press release went out from the Chester Parking Authority, but since I don’t get those, I can only comment on what the Daily Times reports.

While city council is already tweaking the controversial new city parking laws with new ordinances, the Chester Parking Authority also issued a press release outlining upcoming changes to the downtown parking meters installed in the spring. Further policies not specified in the ordinances will be addressed by the revamped Chester Parking Authority, launched in May. The authority is set to hold its first meeting at an unspecified point in the business week of Sept. 30 to Oct. 4

From that statement, it’s not clear who is responsible for the parking meters. City council is tweaking but the Chester Parking Authority is finally having a meeting 5-months after their formation. It sort of looks like the city is passing responsibility for the parking to the parking authority, but we’ll see if that’s the case or not at some point.

The City Council ordinances updated the meter pricing…

  • Downtown meters will provide the first 30 minutes for 50 cents
  • For payment by credit card, 30 minutes costs $1, with each additional 15 minutes costing 50 cents.
  • The new discounted rate for the first 30 minutes is applicable to both coin and credit card payment. (I know these first 3 bullets contradict each other but that’s what’s in the paper)
  • Payment can also be made through the Pango smartphone app.
  • Lots are being renovated and, once completed, will feature metered rate schedules of $1.50 per hour or an all-day rate of $9.

City Council tweaked changes to the hours the meters are in effect…

  • 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday

 

Their reasoning for these meters is to clear the street for parking.

…if you’re parking for an extended period of time, we’re pushing people into the lots to free up on street parking…so one car isn’t able to block access to a business for an entire day.

Business owners and their employees should know better to park in front of their businesses all day. Those spots should be reserved for their customers. Folks who park in front of businesses all day then catch a train or bus from the transportation center will now be encouraged to go to the $9 a day lot ($45 a week – $180 a month).

…merchant zone will provide parking for downtown business owners $25 per year for one vehicle of a retail business (an owner or employee).

The new $25-per-year residential parking permit goes like this…

  • A new residential parking permit program is set to begin in October for areas surrounding Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
  • Four residential areas will be outlined at the first meeting of the parking authority, to be implemented one month at a time following the October rollout.
  • Along with the Crozer area, residential areas around Widener University and Talen Energy Stadium have also been specified.
  • …each residence in a designated area will be “eligible for receipt of up to two residential parking permits per household per year.
  • The residential permit parking zones will be in effect from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
  • Free the first year but $25 fee each subsequent year.

I’m not sure if this means there will be meters put on these blocks and registered cars don’t have to pay, or there will be no meters installed on these blocks but everyone who parks on these blocks who don’t have a permit will be ticketed if they don’t have a permit. That sort of means everyone who lives on the block with a car will have to pay to park in front of their home, or somewhere near their home.

Mayor Kirkland says…

“We have been able to make these upgrades at no cost to the City by working through a public-private partnership even as we maintain oversight. This legislation will bring tangible benefits to our city by better regulating parking opportunities in congested residential neighborhoods and by encouraging vehicle turnover in commercial areas.”

The Delcotimes article has details on how the ‘public-private’ parking partnership deal is structured. If you’re interested in following the money, hit the link and read the article.

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