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Bellefonte Council talks new meters

Parking changes

BELLEFONTE — If you’re used to parking for free in downtown Bellefonte after 5 p.m., you’ll want to enjoy it while it lasts.

At Tuesday night’s Bellefonte Borough Council meeting, council discussed — at length — a change that will take effect soon. As soon as the new parking meter hardware arrives, meters will be monitored from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Borough manager Ralph Stewart said the change will take place sometime in the next month or two.

“It won’t take effect until the new meters are installed,” Stewart explained. “We’re projecting probably March at the earliest, possibly April … we’re shooting for March-April timeframe.”

Stewart said that it’s a matter of getting the new meters and installing them. The expanding hours are to offset some of the costs involved with the upgrades being done to the meters and area parking lots.

“There are expenses involved in upgrading the parking lots. Each meter head will have a monthly fee tied to it because it has to have internet access. Whether we use a meter or not at all, we still have a monthly fee,” Stewart said.

The meters in Bellefonte only take quarters at the present time. The new meter heads will take coins, but will also have the ability to accept credit cards.

According to Stewart, the change was necessary to make using the meters more convenient for those parking in downtown Bellefonte.

“Statistics show that 70 to 80 percent use credit cards and 10 to 20 percent use cash. Cash is still an option, but statistics show that most people switch over to plastic pretty quickly. We’re anticipating that,” Stewart said.

Voting for the change to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. metered parking were council members Gina Thompson, president Joanne Tosti-Vasey, Deborah Cleeton, R. Michael Prendergast, Jon Eaton and vice president Randy Brachbill. Council’s Melissa Hombosky voted against the change, while Anne Walker and Doug Johnson were absent.

There are silver meters throughout downtown. Those are two-hour meters. There are also some red meters on the perimeter, which are 10 hours.

“We’re still looking at options for the (red) meters. Those are on the perimeter of the downtown. Nothing is etched in stone, especially on those long-term meters,” Stewart said.

Parking throughout downtown Bellefonte will remain free on Sundays, Stewart said.

In other parking-related news, council approved a change in the parking spot outside Brother’s Pizza, 102 N. Allegheny St. The metered spot will be changed to a 15-minute spot, making it easier for customers — as well as delivery drivers — to pickup their orders. There are several 15-minute spots located throughout Bellefonte.

Council will meet again at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 2 in council chambers.

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