What to know about Harrisburg parking changes, confusing signs

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Changes to Harrisburg’s parking system aim to make it easier and cheaper to visit the city, and officials say the roll-out through the first weekend is going smoothly.

But that’s not to say there aren’t hiccups.

At the heart of the change is a new mobile parking app, but a number of signs posted around the city still say to use the Pango app — that’s the old one.

Using the app or no, Scott Wrenn doesn’t see many people parking on the street at the Capital Gastropub, where he’s the general manager, for lunch. Most of their midday customers, he said, are already in the city for work.

“I would say the biggest thing it hurts is our dinner service,” Wrenn said of the expensive, ever-changing parking system. “It hurts our happy hour.”

It’s been a constant problem there and at plenty of other downtown businesses.

At Wrenn’s restaurant, it affects when people make reservations.

“Our dinner service has to run later because most people won’t even come in until 7 or 7:30” when parking is free, he said.

New happy hour pricing is now in effect downtown as part of the changes implemented last week — $1 an hour from 5-7 p.m using the code AFTER5 on the new app, Parkmobile.

Every Saturday, drivers can also get four hours of free parking using the code LUVHBG. That code also worked during special events through the Pango app, but Mayor Eric Papenfuse says the new system will make it easier to find and use discount codes.

Business owners are also able to generate validation codes for their customers to park for free.

The city says no major problems were reported with the roll-out last week — minus some user error.

“I think people are getting used to it and as they become more used to it they’ll really like it,” Papenfuse said.

But driving around downtown Monday, ABC27 found some confusing signs. A number of them still advertise the Pango app.

On one side of the 100 block of Second Street, between South and State streets, Pango stickers remain on the signs along with the zone numbers that app uses. On the other side of the street, the signs advise drivers to use Parkmobile.

Plus, there are just a lot of blank signs. On State Street, several advertise Pango on one side of the sign and nothing on the reverse.

For the record, you can’t use Pango anymore, just Parkmobile.

Parking contractor SP Plus told the mayor they ran out of stickers to change the signs over. “I’m told that’ll be done by the end of the day” Tuesday, Papenfuse said.

With so much change to parking rules in recent months and years, the bigger issue for people like Wrenn is consistency.

“If a customer comes in and asks me a question about the parking meter — how long is this going to last, what is the price,” he said, “I can’t give them a direct answer.”

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