PARKING WOES IN KEENE NH

January 26, 2012

City of Keene
Keene, NH 03431

To Whomever Makes Parking Meter Purchase Decisions:

I am not enjoying the new parking meter system in downtown Keene. And if we can judge by the unusually high number of empty parking spaces in that area lately, I have a lot of company.

I’ve had to wait in line at the kiosks, even when I simply need 6 minutes to run an errand.

No matter where I park, I have to detour to go to the kiosk. In fact, this system completely eliminates the concept of a “great parking spot.” It’s no longer in front of your destination store, because you still have to go out of your way to get to the kiosk. When the weather is lovely and my arthritis isn’t acting up, and now that I no longer have small children in tow, a detour to a kiosk is no big deal. But when snowbanks are piled high, when it’s raining or freezing out,when sidewalks are icy, when I’m in a hurry, when I’m carrying a child or two, when I’m recovering from yet another knee surgery, that extra trip is just a pain, literally and figuratively.

The kiosks don’t accept debit cards or credit cards. So we’re still stuck fumbling for change. However, it looks like it will be lucrative for the city, because when the kiosks misfire and refuse to accept change, you have to put a dollar in no matter how little time you need. And when it refuses to make change, well, we lose again.

But who really loses? Downtown merchants. This morning I went to Prime Roast for coffee. The row of spaces in front of their store was completely empty, except for one car. I haven’t seen the street that empty, on a weekday morning, in 20 years.

If you make it a hassle for customers to patronize downtown businesses, they will go somewhere else to shop.

I’d rather have the old meters back. Simple and quick. Or better yet, a meter (NO KIOSK, please, God) that accepts change, dollars and debit/credit cards. Or a parking pass card, like EZ pass. Pay a monthly or annual fee, get a car sticker or a swipe card, and never worry again about how many quarters I have.

Please—just make it less annoying to shop downtown, okay?

Luann Udell

cc: The Keene Sentinel

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “PARKING WOES IN KEENE NH

  1. nice rant, Luanne. Good for you.

  2. Hear! Hear!
    You know the best thing that happened to parking here (Israel) is when they started a system where you sign up to use your cell to call a special number that asks you where you want to park and then tells you how long you have at a time. It asks if you want to get a text msg to remind you a few minutes before your parking expires. It also tells you if you are before or after hours when they charge for parking. All this by computer answered phone calls.
    The one thing it doesn’t do is tell you if you inadvertently parked in one of those secret (poorly marked) “handicapped” spots that they set up so the city can make more money than they do off regular parking.

  3. In Calif. if you have a handicapped sticker you don’t pay at parking meters. You might see a surge in that type of sticker if your county has the same rules. That is frustrating.. get a write-in campaign going and the stores should have some sort of form that you can sign, because it is a loss of revenue for them… Can’t imagine having to do all that in the snow!

  4. Good for speaking up! Too often we curse our fate but do nothing to change it. Hopefully, your’s will not be the only voice they hear.

  5. Great letter, Luann. I haven’t even tried to use the kiosk because I don’t want the hastle.

  6. Elaine Luther

    I agree! And in addition, they’re discriminatory against people with mobility issues, pregnant women and mothers with small children. I hate it when I see a line of people, in the rain, trying to use those, awful, frustrating to use machines. They’re cheaper for the cities, because they don’t have to pay someone to empty the change. How these things haven’t gotten an ADA challenge yet, I don’t understand.

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