Bloomsburg Plans Parking Hike, Extra Enforcement

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BLOOMSBURG -- A lot of businesses in Bloomsburg's downtown are not happy with a plan to double the rates for meter parking along Main Street.

Town officials are close to approving that rate hike from 25 cents to 50 cents an hour, along with adding parking enforcement to evenings and Saturdays all over the community.

It may not sound like a lot, but at many businesses there are big concerns, and some customers say they have good reason.

"They want more money," said Jared Snyder. "The greed has no end and I have no respect for them."

We talked with Snyder at Ready Go Burrito. He doesn't like the rate hike for customers or himself. A lot of workers downtown feed meters, too.

"It's ridiculous. It makes it very hard to work here. I love this job, but I don't love the town for what they do."

Leaders say all this is being done to pay for new meters on Main Street, and while some people admit they are needed, they feel the consequences will cause even bigger problems.

"I'm a little dissuaded coming into town with the parking situation as it is and with rates increased, I can do shopping and get coffee and do things outside of downtown," said Angela Creveling of Bloomsburg.

She was paying to park so her family could stop at a coffee shop.

Officials say the change in parking rates isn't meant to keep people away. Besides just replacing decades-old meters, the idea is to help free up parking spots downtown.

Expanding meter enforcement to evenings and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is also meant to keep people in the college town from clogging up spots.

"They're very effective with their enforcement of it," said Michelle Beaver. "It's like they have bells on when the meter's running out."

But Beaver fears added enforcement could scare away customers, too. She is a co-owner of Uncle Paul's Stuffed Pretzels.

"It's more convenient to go somewhere you don't have to pay for parking. As a business owner, that hurts us. I don't have a quarter, I don't have a dollar to go in to dinner for an hour because that's going to cost us."

The rate hike would only apply to meters on Main Street. The expanded meter enforcement would impact the whole town and would be covered by changing the shifts of current meter readers.

Council is expected to approve this plan at its next meeting January 25.