Tourist business owners request input on oversized vehicle parking;  borough discusses sidewalks

After hearing councilmembers suggest they may extend the ongoing oversized vehicle parking project after it expires in Nov., owners and representatives of tourist-based businesses asked the borough council to allow them to provide input on the project.

Nancie Gudmestad from the Shriver House said it was difficult and confusing to have buses park in the reserved parking space near her business. “I’ve been in the tourist industry for almost 40 years. I would be more than happy to sit down and talk with you,” she said.

Gudmestad also noted that it would not be good to test the effectiveness of the oversized parking spaces in the winter months because very few normally come during that time.

“Three spaces in front of our house were taken away. That’s revenue lost to the borough,” she said.

Shriver House employee Marcia Wilson also spoke during public comment. “What this pilot program is doing is not allowing us to have the spaces we need when we have multiple buses. Don’t mess with success,” she said.

Max Felty from Gettysburg Tours also volunteered to confer with the borough on buses. “That’s literally all I do every day,” he said.  “Please reach out. It should be a win-win,” he said.

Destination Gettysburg President and CEO Karl Pietrzak said bus traffic was rebounding and that the number of buses was likely to increase back to pre-COVID levels by next year. He said it was important for the borough to find a solution for where to park them.

Pietrzak said the parking issue has also been complicated by the closure of Pickett’s Buffet on Steinwehr Ave. where some buses had parked.

“Bus groups are a huge part of the tourism industry here in Adams County. They’re definitely not going away,” he said. “I don’t have a solution. I think it’s definitely something worth talking about.”

Public Space Resolution

The borough is moving forward on a resolution regarding the use of public space, with a focus on sidewalks.

Borough Manager Charles Gable said the borough was taking a multi-prong approach. “This is not just about sidewalks, it’s about management of public spaces and rights-of-way,” he said.

Planning Director Carly Marshall said the goal was to create and publicly share policies regarding public space, including sidewalks, displays, structures, and outdoor dining.

Marshall noted that maintenance on regular, linear, sidewalks on streets is generally the responsibility of the property owner, but that the pedestrian areas on the square are maintained by the borough.

Property owners are responsible for both the sidewalk and the curbs adjacent to their property.

The borough acknowledged that many sidewalks are in “atrocious” condition, not ADA compliant, and can create a safety hazard. “We’ve had people fall; we’ve had people injured,” said Council President Wes Heyser.

Heyser said that when sidewalks needed repair, it was difficult for property owners. “You’re talking about saddling someone with a major expense. It has to meet standards. It’s not simple.”

Marshall proposed a sidewalk cost-sharing program where the borough would remove the old sidewalks and schedule the concrete work that the homeowners would then pay for, probably on a reimbursement approach.  Marshall said the cost to property owners would be reduced because the borough did some of the work and due to economy of scale.

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Charles (Chuck) Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Owner, Publisher, and Editor in Chief. I would like to hear from you. Please contact me at cstangor@gettysburgconnection.org.

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Susan Cipperly
Susan Cipperly
8 months ago

It’s a good idea to provide some drop-off/pickup spots, at least. Parking and idling seems to be the major downside. I believe that next Spring when Pickett’s Buffet reopens in combination with a tourist attraction and easy bus parking, the need for bus parking downtown will decrease, partially solving the problem.

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