Is the Harrisburg parking rate hike doing more harm than good?

It’s been two months since the price doubled to park in Harrisburg. The increase is supposed to generate more money for the city, but is it actually doing more harm than good? Some business owners say yes.

“There’s no reason to come downtown when there’s other places you can go across the river or in Susquehanna Township that you don’t have to pay to park,” said Adam Sturges, co-owner of Sturges Speakeasy in Midtown.

Sturges said the business is making less money because of the rate hike.

“This is not cool. Three dollars for one hour? Not good at all. It’s expensive,” said Erika Colone of Linglestown.

She does not like the fact that she has to pay twice as much to park in Harrisburg. It makes her think twice before going to the city.

With the looks of Forster Street during Friday happy hour, Colone is not the only one.

“There was never this much parking on Forster at this time of day. Ever,” said Sturges.

He said ever since the new parking rates started business has slowed, especially with the addition on paying to park on Saturdays.

“Two groups that were about 15 to 20 people that came in every Saturday,” said Sturges. “Thirty to 40 people every Saturday we lost.”

Sturges said his saving grace are Midtown residents, like Nathan DeMuro.

“I can say with great honesty that probably 50 to 60 percent of the people sitting at this bar right here live within walking distance, and that’s the only reason they’re in here,” DeMuro said.

It is not just customers who are pouring money into the pay stations.

“My p.m. employees, they didn’t have to worry about parking. They didn’t have to worry about paying for parking,” said Sturges. “Now that the meters go until 7:00 p.m., it’s a different story, especially on Saturdays.”

Not to mention the $30 tickets Sturges keeps getting.

“I was parked in the loading zone, unloaded liquor, went into the restaurant, wrote a check, came back out to unload the seafood that I had picked up. The back of my truck was two to three feet past the loading zone into the no parking, and I had a $30 ticket on my car,” Sturges said. “I own the building, own the business, I’m unloading stuff for the business, $30 ticket. Did it need to be done? No.”

Due to the new rates, there are also whispers that some business owners are going to tweak their hours because they said there is no sense in being open if business is slow.

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