PLATTSBURGH — A petition to "Keep Downtown Plattsburgh Parking Free" is inching towards 1,000 supporters.
Dr. Kate Mahoney-Myers, who operates Living Well Chiropractic at 10 Brinkerhoff St., started that petition last month.
Though a member of the City of Plattsburgh Parking Advisory Committee, Mahoney-Myers said the Change.org petition was of her own creation.
"The PPAC is a non-paid committee where there is not a lot of flexibility," she said.
"Some of the main decisions have already been made by the Common Council and so we have to function within those parameters. This is a way that I, as an individual, could branch out on my own."
ON THE PETITION
In creating the Parking Committee, the 2018 Common Council had tasked the group with recommending a self-funded, paid-parking system to operate in the downtown corridor.
According to Mahoney-Myers' petition, such a system would "eliminate most, if not all FREE PARKING in downtown Plattsburgh.
"If this is implemented, ALL PARKING downtown will potentially be paid 24 hours a day — it is highly likely that all the parking lots and all the on-street parking will be PAY-TO-PARK.
"We the people — downtown business owners, downtown business patrons, downtown residents, downtown business employees, downtown property owners and the many out-of-state downtown visitors —OPPOSE THIS vehemently," the petition continues.
"Don't saddle downtown with the burden of a massively expensive and wholly unnecessary paid parking system."
Mahoney-Myers thinks of free parking as one of downtown Plattsburgh's greatest features.
"I think changing over to paid parking would have really significant financial repercussions for many downtown businesses," she said. "And significant quality of life issues for downtown residents."
Discussion at the June Parking Committee meeting had introduced an idea for varying rates dependent upon the parking demand of a certain time of day or on a certain city street.
At this month's meeting, Mahoney-Myers was vocal in her opposition of such a system.
"Public perception is just going to be, 'I don't know what I'm paying. I'm not going down there," she said. "People are coming downtown to go to JCEO, to go to doctor's offices, to go to lawyer's offices.
"A lot of those people maybe don't have smartphones, maybe don't have reliable internet access," she continued. "People have trouble, financially, in this area. People have to budget gas to come downtown."
And so, she added, incorporating an uncertain parking fee "is going to create a huge barrier to downtown utilization."
Signatures on the online petition are just under 900, but Mahoney-Myers said paper petitions are next.
"My plan right now is to see how many signatures we gather and, as the petition states, to eventually present the petition to the Common Council."
Read the full petition at Change.org.
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