WILKES-BARRE--- New year, new price increase in Wilkes-Barre. Rates for on-street parking doubled on Monday morning.
It used to cost $1 to park on Public Square for an hour; now it will cost $2.
Like plenty of other people this morning, Lewis Morris got out of his car on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre to feed the meter, only to notice the price to park doubled.
“I think it’s ridiculous. I think another quarter or 50 cents, but this is too high,” Morris said.
City leaders said the hope is to free up spaces on Public Square so that more people can park, buy what they need, and be on their way.
It costs $2 an hour for on-street parking and $1.50 at city-owned garages.
“It encourages visitors of downtown to use parking garages for longer term, metered parking open for shorter term visitors, which would benefit the merchants,” Deputy City Administrator Tim Henry said.
This is the first street parking price hike in 13 years.
Businesses in downtown aren’t so sure it’ll be much help.
“I don't know how it's going to affect business. The city says it's supposed to help out. I'm not so sure about that. Hopefully, they're right and I'm wrong,” City Market and Café Owner Christian Switzer said.
At a parking garage near Public Square, people who park here regularly say it's already tough enough to find a spot.
“There's not a lot of extra room. Lots of times you have to go to the top floor to park,” Donald Brobst of Shavertown said.
“I think it's a joke, to be honest with you. People have to come down here to shop. They worry about getting people here to shop. They worry about these small businesses, but you're only hurting them by charging more,” Dave Maconeghy of Scranton said.
The city hopes to raise $400,000 to $1 million from the meter hike.
The increase will be phased in for all on-street city meters over the next two weeks.