has voted to eliminate a controversial parking program that alleviated parking problems for some businesses, and aggravated the situation for others.
Last year, former borough manager Gino Rizza initiated
on West Liberty Avenue was the first to take advantage of the program. soon did the same.
Dormont Appliance owner Alan Scheimer said his clients benefitted from the four parking spaces he leased in the 10-space parking lot off of Illinois Avenue, behind .
His lease ran out on July 1, and those spaces now have working parking meters.
“It’s going to hurt our business,” Scheimer said. “We understand the competing interest for parking spaces, but we’re very disappointed with the decision. We have been looking for solutions to parking for many years.”
Clients aren’t in the market for a new appliance every day, Scheimer said, and his clients typically visited the store about once every three years. But he said his clients come from all over the area, and aren’t always familiar with Dormont’s streets, or with the location of public parking lots.
His clients also are typically families who arrive with children, he said. They often come in the evening, after work, when it’s getting dark outside. He doesn’t like the idea that they might have to walk several blocks in the dark, or in bad weather, to visit the store.
Leasing parking spaces seemed to be the best solution for his customers, he said.
“I was looking to make it an easier experience for my customers, just as those who opposed it were looking to make it easier for their customers,” Scheimer said. “It’s a very difficult situation.”
But Sergio Pampena, owner of Sergio’s Salon, said he thinks council’s decision is a step in the right direction.
“Council did see a problem and worked to fix it,” Pampena said. “I do appreciate it.”
Because there is no metered parking in front of his salon, Pampena said his clients must either park farther away and walk, or depend on the Illinois lot behind the salon.
He said he doesn’t think it was fair for business owners to have to lease parking spaces to guarantee customer parking.
“The purpose of parking meters is not to be sold,” he said. “Why would I pay for spots that already are intended for my clients?”
Pampena said he also understands the frustration of business owners like Scheimer, who lost the ability to guarantee their clients nearby parking.
“You can’t make everyone happy all the time,” Pampena said. “You have to do what’s best for the common good. I think this highlighted other parking problems that Dormont has and maybe we can adopt some new initiatives to help out there.”
Editor’s Note: The parking lease program that was eliminated applies only to business owners who were leasing borough-owned parking spaces for their clients’ use. Residents and those who work in the borough are still permitted to buy parking permits.