Smart talk plans

Panto d’Easton plans to summit on ‘P’ word: parking | Regional News from Lehigh Valley

EASTON, Pa .– Easton Mayor Sal Panto plans to bring together a group of residents to discuss one of the city’s biggest issues – parking.

The date for the “parking top” has not been set. The mayor wants to bring together a group including inner city dwellers, entrepreneurs and a few other residents to spend most of the day debating ideas on spaces for cars.

Pressure on parking is part of the price of growth. Developers plan to add hundreds of downtown apartments as Easton prepares to bring down the Pine Street garage and set up the Fourth Street garage. This same growth has enabled the mayor to present 13 consecutive budgets without an increase in property tax.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, Panto raised the issue of residents of downtown apartments who are guaranteed garage spaces under their lease. Some of them prefer to park on the street, so they buy a $ 100 residence permit and the garage space is not used.

“They take parking on the street,” he said.

The mayor said the city is seeking to prevent residents with garage spaces from overtaking with a residence permit.

“I’m not trying to eliminate (residential parking),” he said. “I’m trying to make it fairer.”

City administrator Luis Campos said under the current permit program the city has no way of verifying whether a resident has moved but kept their permit. He led a recent parking audit which led to the revocation of some permits.

City Councilor Peter Melan used the audit, conducted over the phone, as an example of how the city has not kept pace with technology. The result is a waste of staff time, he said.

“We spend countless hours trying to figure out who parks where,” he said. Melan said software could automate many of the city’s processes. He also complained about the lack of financial information as the board reviews the 2022 budget.

“You have to do a better job,” he told the administration.

Campos said the city was moving forward but had limited resources and some of its computer systems were not communicating with each other.

The mayor noted that the human element cannot be neglected.

Some Easton residents, especially the elderly, “don’t even have a smartphone,” and new technology could leave those people behind, Panto said.

Drivers at parking lots where payment can be made through a phone app at the entrance, for example, has confused some residents who are used to paying when leaving. They risk getting parking tickets, Panto explained.

The mayor said parking can be improved, but logic and numbers may not play a role in a city where people prefer to park on the street, and others face hefty fines for parking on property. private.

“It won’t make sense,” he said of the space compression review. “This is never the case. Parking is parking.”

Another parking problem remains to be resolved. Two women who have disabled spaces asked to be allowed to leave their cars parked on street sweeping days. Campos said the administration recommends denying their request as it would open the door for others to request exceptions.

The municipal health council will be invited to give its opinion on the matter before any action is considered. For now, the rule requiring all cars to be moved when the streets are cleared holds up.

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