Moody Street business owners are pushing to reduce the fee they pay to park in city-owned lots.
Basically, the business owners are supporting a petition to lower the $350 annual parking sticker fee to park in a city-owned lot at an all-day meter to $175, according to Kari Spriggs, manager of located on Moody Street. Only business owners with certified business licenses could benefit from the lower fee, according to Spriggs.
Spriggs said many Moody Street business owners believe the current rate is excessive and causes parking problems for owners.
“My husband,” who Spriggs said owns the photo studio, “likes to say it’s highway robbery.”
Traffic Commission clerk Frank Lombardo, in an interview with Waltham Patch, did not say whether the commission supports the idea, but noted the group plans to survey similar rates in surrounding towns. He said he does not know when the work will be completed.
Business owners say the current fee structure is problematic for them, especially in the current economic climate. Spriggs said she refused to buy a sticker because of the high cost. As a result, if she wants to park in city lots during the day, she must pay the regular meter rates. Spriggs, however, said that if she leaves during that time, she could lose the space, return later and be forced to pay the meter.
Spriggs, however, said she parks in city lots during off hours when she would not receive a parking ticket.
While not ideal, Spriggs said she could also buy a monthly sticker, but that costs $35 per month, $420 annually.
Bob Marcou, owner of , said while he has adequate private parking, he wants to see a solution to the high costs.
“I think it would help any business owner,” Marcou said.
Marcou said he arranged for private parking at his store a few years ago because it was cheaper than paying the city sticker rates. The parking costs, he said, further burden businesses already struggling in the bad economy.
To Lombardo, however, the $350 rate is a “bargain.” In 2009, the commission raised the sticker rates from $100 to $350 several years ago, according to Lombardo.
Lowering the rates would not only ease a business owner’s burden, but it would help bring more business to the area, according to , the owner of
Collura, a former city councilor, said lowering the rates would encourage more businesses to locate in the downtown area.
“It is an issue that is worthy of discussion,” Collura said. “I can completely sympathize with those business owners that are struggling in a recovering economy that are paying the rate that anybody else would pay.”
Collura’s landlord provides her with free parking.
City Councilor , in response to inquiries from Spriggs, proposed a solution of sorts. Vizard, in a letter to the traffic commission, asked the group to lower the $350 rate to $250, but for all residents who want to park in city lots, not just business owners.
“I do think that we should explore reducing the financial burden on everyone,” Vizard said.