Letter to the editor: Other solutions possible to help downtown parking

Concerns have been raised by the Better Middlebury Partnership on behalf of downtown businesses regarding parking availability near the post office, with the suggestion that the ACTR bus stop on the St. Stephens side be reconsidered. On Monday, March 19, I decided to monitor parking availability in the twenty parking spaces on Main St. between the temporary bridge and Seymour Street on an hourly basis from 10:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., including recording license plates to assess turn-over of the parking spaces. I got some interesting results.
1. I found that between 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., 4-6 parking spaces were consistently available. Parking was tight at 3:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., however, with two and then only one space available, respectively.
2. At each hour after two hours of monitoring, an average of four parked vehicles had over-stayed the two-hour parking limit, including one vehicle parked for over five hours, and one for over six hours.
There are several things that can be done to improve access to this highly frequented area. One is to visit earlier in the day, if possible. Another is to ensure turn-over of vehicles in the parking spaces — by voluntarily refraining from parking in this area for more than two hours; by enforcement; or by adding parking meters to keep the vehicles turning over and thus increasing parking availability. Perhaps those needing longer-term parking could park in the angle parking up on N. Pleasant St. rather than in the highly coveted spots right in front of the post office.
People riding the ACTR bus — whether mobility-challenged, vulnerable population, or those trying to lower their carbon footprint — deserve the same good access to the downtown for their shopping, going to work, going to appointments, etc., as drivers. I encourage people to try the bus — it’s very handy! Happily, it appears that we can address the parking concerns while preserving the post office bus stops.
Dorothy Mammen

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