West Shore residents: City commuters taking parking spots

West Shore residents are complaining that their residential parking spaces are being taken by Harrisburg commuters looking to avoid higher fees in the city.

For about two weeks now, Jesse Espenshade said he has watched a woman who does not live in his neighborhood park near his house.

“She'll pull on the corner and then she'll have other people with her,” Espenshade said. “Somebody else will pull up and they'll all load up in that car and all drive across the river.”

Espenshade said he and other Wormleysburg residents have noticed an influx of drivers parking in their neighborhood. His mother, who lives down the street, has been inconvenienced several times.

“They're handicapped. They have the handicap placard and they can't even park in front of their own house,” Espenshade said. “They have to drive almost a block away just to park and then walk home.”

Espenshade said he confronted a driver about why they keep parking on his street. He said the driver complained that Harrisburg's new parking rates cost too much. He was unsure if this person parked in a garage or on the street.

Parking garage rates have gone up as much as $30 a month for some garages, others have increased $10 a month. Parking fines have spiked to $30 a ticket; $50 if not paid within four days.

However, despite what you may have heard, higher metered rates, extended hours, and paid Saturday parking have not gone into effect. Standard Parking has said the new rates will begin only when 35 new downtown meters have been installed.

Chris Sherman, Standard Parking's senior vice president, said a news release would be issued when the new meters are ready, and if Harrisburg's St. Patrick's Day parade on March 22 would be a paid and metered day. There has been no update as of Friday afternoon.

There has been wide confusion about the new rates for a few reasons. Word of mouth oftentimes sends misinformation, but Standard Parking did not help their cause when it posted that new rates and hours were in effect on their website. The company has since taken down the notice, but the damage has already been done.

According to advertising experts, people must hear a message three times before absorbing it. This is called “effective frequency.”

New meters = new rates.

New meters = new rates.

New meters = new rates.

Espenshade fears that when the new rates are imposed, the parking problems in his neighborhood will get worse.

“Once [the rate] goes up, more people are going to be coming over and try to park over here,” he said.

Espenshade said Wormleysburg should offer its spacious and empty lot as a source of revenue. Parking currently is prohibited in the borough building lot.

“It'd bring income to the township and also gives us room to park,” he said.


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