GREENFIELD — It’s been two months since the city quit enforcing its two-hour downtown parking rule, and officials said they haven’t heard any complaints.
The downtown parking attendant position was eliminated from Greenfield Police Department’s budget. Richard Posey, who held the position six years, was let go Oct. 1, and while city council members said they may re-evaluate the move and put the position back in the budget, Mayor Dick Pasco said that’s probably not going to happen.
“I’ve not had a single complaint,” Pasco said.
The two-hour parking limit remains in place, but without Posey marking tires with chalk and writing citations, there’s little to stop motorists from holding a spot all day.
Looking out his office window, Pasco noted a truck had been parked next to city hall all morning – a violation of the two-hour rule. Pasco said while some people will violate the rule, for the most part traffic has been flowing in and out of parking spots.
Posey could not be reached for comment.
Police Chief John Jester said he, too, hasn’t heard any complaints from the public or downtown merchants on the parking situation.
Still, at least one person is not pleased. Rob Young of National Road Insurance says his business is at one of the busiest spots downtown – on American Legion Place, next to the county prosecutor’s office and across the street from the courthouse.
“I know there are a few people who work in the courthouse that ignore the two hour (signs); they park out front all day,” he said. “These parking spaces are heavily used by courthouse customers as well as our clients and people that have other businesses along American Legion (Place).”
Young was concerned when the announcement was made in August about eliminating the parking attendant’s position. He said his fear of people taking advantage of it is coming true.
But other merchants like the move.
“It’s a great big improvement for me, because I can go out and park in front of my business and spend all the time I need without getting a ticket,” said Paul Maslek, owner of Andree’s Florist at the corner of American Legion Place and Main Street.
Maslek likes to park his delivery truck next to his business several hours at a time. He said it will be especially helpful to do so in the upcoming winter months, so he doesn’t have to trek across the slippery street to public parking with delicate flower arrangements in hand.
He also has customers who can take a lot of time in his business.
“I’ve had ladies sit in wedding consultations over three or four hours, depending on what they want and how easy it is to convince them with what they want,” he said. “They’ve gone outside and found tickets on their cars. That’s not too good for business.”
The parking attendant position was created to make sure downtown parking was accessible. But for some, enforcement of the two-hour limit was aggravating.
Posey said earlier this year that people argued with him over tickets. Others became upset because a proceeding at the courthouse took longer than they expected. They would come out of court only to find him writing a parking ticket.
Still, several downtown parking lots have been opened in the past few years, easing demand for on-street parking. The council decided that because more parking is available and because the amount collected in parking tickets didn’t pay for Posey’s part-time salary, the position should be eliminated.
Pasco said that doesn’t necessarily mean downtown parking is never monitored. If there is a police officer on light-duty work, for example, the officer could monitor parking and write tickets.
Councilman Jason Horning voted against eliminating the position.
“My thing was, if we’re not going to have somebody enforce the parking, then why have the parking rules? Why not open it up and let people park wherever they want, all day?” he said.
Still, Horning said he won’t propose eliminating two-hour parking entirely unless the public says it’s what they want.