by Jonathan Weaver
Motorists parking in downtown Kittanning have made sure to check their wallet or pockets for nickels and dimes during the first weeks of Spring.
Today enters the sixth week that part-time Parking Meter Attendant Amanda King, 29, has been employed to enforce metered parking in six parking lots, along Market Street and along other streets in the borough.
Police Chief Bruce Mathews said there has been an adjustment period for residents but that compliance to allow for increased business is coming. About $2,200 was said to be collected during the beginning of March.
“So far, it has worked out,” Chief Mathews said. “The first week or so, the adjustment period there was meter enforcement occurring, it was a full-time job in-and-of itself. Numerous people were calling claiming their meters were broken, they were short on time, it was jammed – you name it and everything went wrong with it. (The meters) never did fall out of certification, however they are mechanical and things do happen and you have to give (motorists) the benefit-of-the-doubt.”
The responses from motorists cut back on the amount of fines that were to have been collected those first few weeks.
That is nothing compared to the more-than $13,000 lost in revenue during 2013 where there was no meter attendant on-staff and patrol officers were responsible for the enforcement.
“The first week was very trying and we had a lot (of motorists) that were very upset with it,” Chief Mathews said.
But, Chief Mathews also reiterated this month that parking meters are not looked at as a source of revenue, but more as a way to encourage business. He said King, who works about 15 hours per week on a rotating schedule, has done a good job of customer assistance.
“(King) has worked out (well) – very nice demeanor to her, polite with people. I got the chance to work with her for several hours the first day and the second day, a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon just to keep tabs in the immediate area to assist her if she needed anything. So far, it seems to be working out,” Chief Mathews said.
The nearly-600 parking meters within the municipality are enforced from 8AM until 4:30PM weekdays and are to be standardized with quarter time slots later this year.