Council delays vote on increasing parking fees
Visitors to downtown Newark got a reprieve Monday as city council delayed a vote on increasing the fees to park at Main Street meters and in city-run lots.
The ordinance would increase the cost of parking at meters in the core downtown area – Main Street west of Chapel Street – from $1.25 an hour (12 minutes per quarter) to $2 an hour (7.5 minutes per quarter.) Meanwhile, lesser-used meters east of the Pomeroy Trail would be reduced to $1 an hour.
Council was also expected to discuss a controversial plan to increase the cost of parking in city-run lots during the busiest times.
Under the plan for “peak” and “off peak” rates, the cost to park would double to $2 per hour Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The current $1-per-hour rate would remain on weekends, nights and during the summer.
However, council members voted around 11:30 p.m. to end Monday’s meeting before discussing the parking issue, much to the dismay of at least three people, including the owner of Unique Impressions, who had waited four and a half hours to voice their concerns about the fee increases, only to be told to come back next month.
Under the council’s rules, the body cannot take up a new issue after 11 p.m. unless council votes to extend the meeting. The rule was implemented during the height of the data center controversy in 2014, as a way to rein in meetings that were routinely lasting past midnight.
Monday’s agenda was busier than usual, in part because of scheduling issues. Some council members were out of town during the last two meetings, causing important issues to be saved for Monday’s meeting, and the next regularly scheduled meeting falls on Christmas and thus was cancelled.
The parking fees will be discussed at the Jan. 8 council meeting.
City council ended Monday’s meeting before discussing a plan to raise the cost of parking at Main Street meters and in city-run parking lots.