New Haven parking fees prompt call for change

Parking meter. (File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Be it in a parking garage or on the street, many people feel paying for parking in New Haven is enough to keep them away from businesses, restaurants, and even government meetings.

“You always get the push-back in regard to I’m not coming downtown, Jeanette, cause I’m not getting a ticket,” said Alder Jeanette Morrison, D-22.

Morrison is leading a push to increase participation in government meetings by asking the city to allow free parking from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday nights. Right now, people must pay to park until 9 p.m.

“We don’t want people to be stressed when we’re downtown. We want them to be able to focus on the issues and really give their input because what they say to us is going to help us develop the laws that’s gonna help our city to continue to grow, “said Morrison.

Morrison’s original proposal was to not charge at about 90 metered spots around City Hall on those nights, but the city said that would result in a large loss of revenue.

“The mayor is extremely interested in expanding participation, not restricting it and so working together to find a reasonable accommodation for folks who are participating in government or participating at the free public library was extremely important,” said Doug Hausladen, Director of transportation, Traffic and Parking for New Haven.

The compromise is to have free parking from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays at the lot across from 200 Orange Street and the Public Library’s lot.

But limited free parking doesn’t solve some of the frustrations alders say are keeping residents from coming downtown during the day to shop or dine. Chamber of Commerce President Tony Rescigno says downtown businesses aren’t hurting because of parking issues.

“Today were busy and when you’re busy these issues sort of come to the surface,” said Rescigno.

While paying to park might deter some people it appears most businesses aren’t feeling the pinch.

“People feel like parking is an issue because they can’t find a parking space or it’s too expensive. One of the things that it’s saying is that we’re extremely successful,” said Rescigno.

The city’s Traffic Authority is set to vote on the proposal next Tuesday night. If it is approved it will be a pilot program that runs from September until May.

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