Town Hears Complaints About Parking Enforcement

The problem of parking in Elkton’s central business district is an issue the Mayor and Commissioners have struggled with at recent meetings.  Citizens and downtown merchants have expressed concern over what they say are overzealous enforcement practices and restrictive time requirements. More broadly, the board has examined the subject of the regulations, while bringing a few of their own complaints to the table. 

A few years ago, especially before the county moved 200 office workers to the Delaware State Line and some businesses closed, the supply of available space was periodically tight at peak time.  But as this migration occurred and other factors affected Main Street, the old WILMAPCO study that stated there was a problem in Elkton and recommended a parking garage became irrelevant for supply exceeded demand.   In addition, a number of older historic buildings were demolished in the central business district, producing a cluster of surface parking areas.

From the town leadership’s standpoint, one commissioner reported receiving a ticket with 7-minutes remaining on the device, while another advised that enforcement personnel were resetting the meters.  By that, he meant that if a vehicle pulled away and there was still time remaining, the officer would reset the meter so the next person parking there had to deposit coins.  The query about that surprised the town administrator, who said he would look into it. We’ll see if we can find out what the investigation showed on this practice.

It is an important public policy matter since you don’t want unfriendly parking policies causing problems for motorists who want to visit Main Street without getting a ticket.  But on the other hand, it wasn’t too many years ago that the merchants association complained the town wasn’t doing enough enforcement for many  downtown workers parked on the street for the day, taking away valuable spaces for shoppers.  At that time the downtown business climate was stronger and the merchants association would periodically visit town hall to point out that the lack of enforcement was hurting business.

Some of these problems are connected to another regulatory change, which came about as a result of complaints about the presence of meters as revitalization got underway.  In response to those concerns and an attempt to create more traffic for businesses downtown, metered-parking was eliminated in most areas.  Now only a few blocks around the courthouses and the hospital have meters.  Appropriate policies and practices are important as the town struggles to strike the right balance in enforcement and regulation.

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4 responses to “Town Hears Complaints About Parking Enforcement

  1. I was in Elkton today, shopping. Saw a huddled creature leaning over the wheels of several cars and thought the person was trying to steal the tires. Instead, it was a “parking enforcement” person, marking the rubber of those who had dared parked there and stay in town TOO LONG. Way to go, Elkton! You let the county move its offices out of the center of the County Seat and now you try to snatch a few extra bucks from those willing to try to shop in your ghost town. The few remaining merchants are trying to make a living, but you assign a paid buzzard to hover near the vehicles of the FEW folks willing to spend dollars inside Cecil County’s hustling metropolis. Nice touch. The threat of a parking fine for staying too long sure make me want to rush back into town soon.

  2. Zogloba:

    Establishing the right balance in parking enforcement is something the town board is talking about.

  3. the night watchman

    Hey Zman, you didn’t need to worry. IF the pros we got around here were after your tires they would have had and been gone in a flash. But come to think of it those meter maids are pretty fast to. Don’t linger to long are you will have a ticket in a flash to. Transfer those metermaids to crime control. If they r as good at that as they are parking enforcement the town wont have any more crime problems. They r good they r.

  4. Night Watchman: Thanks for providing your thoughts to Zogloba. The parking enforcement officers are getting a good bit of flack right now, but I just think they’re efficient public workers. Someone assigned them to do those particular set of tasks and they go about them efficiently, that’s for sure.

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