Thursday, June 27, 2013

Easton City Council Grants Free Parking on Heritage Day

By Christina Georgiou

If you're going to attend Easton's 36th Annual Heritage Day, you don't have to worry about feeding a parking meter, since Easton City Council voted Wednesday evening to suspend metered parking enforcement in the Downtown district for the day.

A resolution introduced by Councilwoman El Warner calls for free curbside parking on Sunday, July 7.

Councilman Roger Ruggles initially worried free parking on Heritage Day would cause problems down the road.

"My concern is, if we suspend for this, what about other days, like the Garlic Festival?" he asked.

Warner said however, Heritage Day is a special circumstance, more so than other festivals held in the city.

"It's the city's festival. It's about our heritage," she said, adding that Heritage Day is Easton's largest, most widely attended festival of the year. "This is the first year we've enforced meters on Sundays, so this is the first year we've had to do this."

City administrator Glenn Steckman said he worried free parking on Heritage Day would "create an anticipation of free parking" and cause a bigger problem on a day when parking is already limited due to street closures.

But the council voted 6-0 in favor of the resolution. Councilwoman Sandra Vulcano was not present.

Warner said council may look at changing the city parking ordinance in the near future and switch July 4th for Heritage Day as a defined holiday when parking enforcement is not in effect.

That wasn't done this year because there wasn't enough time between realizing Sunday enforcement would affect Heritage Day and the event to enact an ordinance change, so a resolution was used to decree free parking for the day instead.

"Families that are enjoying their time won't have to worry about feeding the meters," Warner said. "The meters have a three hour time limit, but the festival doesn't have a three hour limit."

Also on the subject of parking, an executive order from Mayor Sal Panto issued on Tuesday, June 25, provides for meters to again be placed in the former Perkins parking lot.

Citing a need for additional parking during the summer months when "parking will be at a premium" and ongoing construction projects, the order allows for paid parking at the lot for ninety days.

The site is part of where the Easton's new city hall and transportation center will be built. Construction was originally announced to begin in April, but the date has since been reportedly pushed back to this coming autumn.

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