Parking enforcement issues continue to plague Gettysburg

Parking meter bags have created a firestorm in the Borough of Gettysburg over the past several years. Discussions to remedy the issue continue to fall flat.

At borough council’s workshop on Monday, representatives from Christ Lutheran and Saint Francis Xavier Roman Catholic churches said borough staff told them they were no longer allowed to place bags on meters during church services. Susan Thresher, Saint Francis’ business manager, said this is especially problematic during Holy Days of Obligation that do not fall on Sundays. Randy Wallett of Christ Lutheran told the council the bags help church-goers with mobility issues.

parking meter

Borough Manager Charles Gable said the notice to churches was sent in an attempt to enforce parking rules equally borough-wide. Borough Councilmember Chris Berger advocated to continue allowing churches to place meter bags.

“This is not common sense to me. If they have always done it that way, then they should be able to continue to do it,” he said.

Councilmember Patti Lawson agreed.

“Common sense has been getting us into trouble, unfortunately,” Gable said.

Last month, Shriver House Museum owner Nancy Gudmested told the council that she has been placing and removing meter bags for more than 25 years without issue. Recently, borough administrators told her that only parking enforcement or police officers can manage bag placement. Gudemestad and owners of Gettysburg Diorama and Civil War Tails pay $150 per bag annually.

Councilmember Chad Alan-Carr said he believes the churches need to follow the same rules as Gudmestad.

“If we tell one person they cannot remove their bag, then it goes across the board,” he said.

The council did not address the churches’ request. They did concede that Shriver House, Gettysburg Diorama, and Civil War Tails should pay the standard rate for parking.

Parking Pilot Program

Earlier this month, council approved a three-month pilot program to allow restaurants with a seating capacity of 50 or greater to reserve several meters for up to 12 hours a day when they expect buses. 

Under the program, buses are allowed on the square and the borough’s main streets. The price of a bag is determined by the cost of parking in the space for 12 hours. Borough parking rates are determined by where the meter is located.

About two weeks in, the pilot program is stuck in the muddy landscape of public opinion.

Council President Matthew Moon reminded the council that parking revenue generates $1.5 million in revenue, which is about a quarter of the borough’s budget. The borough only has one other way to generate income, Moon said — raise taxes.

Linda Atiyeh, owner of Upper Crust on York Street, says the pilot program requires her to pay $18 per space per day, even if she is only going to use the space for one hour. 

“That is cost-prohibitive, it doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Borough Parking Manager Becka Fissel understood Atiyeh’s concern. However, Fissel only has one staff member on duty at a time and altering the program would require more staff time.

Moon told Atiyeh the pilot program was instituted at her insistence, and the council was fine with letting buses drop off patrons and park at the Gettysburg Fire Hall on Stratton Street. Atiyeh claimed the Majestic Theater, where Moon is employed, pays less than her restaurant. Moon and Fissel corrected her and said the Majestic pays $18 per day, per space.

Council did not recommend making any changes to the bus pilot parking program, which is currently scheduled to end in June. Members did concur that they hope to find a solution that will allow businesses to reserve spaces for less than a whole day while being conscious of Fissel’s staffing challenges.

​Alex J. Hayes, Editor, has spent almost two decades in the Adams County news business. He is heavily involved in the community through his volunteer roles at the Rotary Club of Gettysburg, Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, United Way of Adams County, and Healthy Adams County. Alex is also a freelance writer for several other publications in South Central Pennsylvania.
Alex encourages readers to contact him at ahayes83@gmail.com.

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Unanimous
Unanimous
25 days ago

I visit your town twice a year and drop a substantial amount of money to your wonderful business men and women. When it comes to parking, it is horrible and you get what is it, 10-15 minutes for a quarter! Your shop people, your visitors and your borough residents put up with tourists from April-November and they don’t get a break. Find another avenue to generate $$ and not gouge those who visit/live in your beautiful town.

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