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Elmira Parking Complaints

Elmira Parking Complaints

Elmira (WENY) -- The one hour limit on parking meters is just one of the complaints people have about parking in downtown Elmira. People who eat, shop and work on Main Street have been complaining about the parking situation for years and said the public garage around the corner is still not the answer.

"Well, I avoid coming downtown because of the parking natzi as I like to call him," said Elmira resident Carol Braunstein.

Most of the meters have one hour limits, and dozens of people said meter officers are too eager to write tickets.

"Oftentimes, I park out on the street, I put my money in the meter, and it may be a few minutes before four o'clock, and I've been ticketed quite a few times," said Megan Schmidt, who works on Main Street. "They're not very accommodating."

Local business owners said the parking situation hurts their bottom lines.

"Some of the elderly customers here, they can't even stay and enjoy their lunch because they're running out to the meter," said Kaylen Knox, who works at Main Street Cafe. "Some of them forget about the meters -- they get tickets because you can't sit down and eat for an hour, it's impossible."

Some people said they'd like to see more two hour meters or parking validation by businesses. Mayor Sue Skidmore said the solution is right around the corner at the parking garage on Gray Street. Not everyone agrees.

"Nobody utilizes it for the simple reason of, what my understanding is, it's not well taken care of," said Knox. "It smells in there a little bit, people don't feel safe walking to and from, and it's not well maintained."

Skidmore said that's not true -- anymore, at least -- because over the past few months, the city has been updating the garage and city lots with new lights, signs, pay boards and even music.

"It's well lit, there's music in there, there are people who are in there, it should be an easy in and out, it's accessible," said Skidmore. "If you want to park for two or three hours, that's the place to go. You pay when you come out, there's no ticket on the front of your car."

Mayor Skidmore said the city council plans to take a closer look at the meter issue in the future, but the next step is finishing up the garage improvements -- the last step is to clean up the elevator.