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Park & Lie

City Council talks parking cheats

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry The parking kiosks in Warren’s Midtown Lot charge $1 per hour. According to police, some users have been abusing the city’s parking app by parking in the lot, but paying to park in a zone that only costs 50 cents an hour.

Some people in downtown Warren have been parking on borrowed time.

At Monday night’s meeting of City Council, Police Chief Brandon Deppen asked that the parking ordinance be modified.

Numerous Passport App users had apparently discovered that they could park in the Midtown Lot and pay the 50-cents-per-hour rate in effect at parking meters and in the public spaces of the parking garage. The hourly rate in the Midtown Lot is $1.

Deppen said they were abusing that knowledge. “They’re aware that they’re doing it.”

Handheld units used by parking staff show which zone users select. Deppen said “40 to 50 vehicles per day” were parking in the Midtown Lot and were paying the lower rate.

That has resulted in a loss of about $1,200 per month in parking revenue, he said.

The change to the ordinance was unanimously approved by council and will require that users park in the zone for which payment is made. A violation would result in a $25 fine. If that amount is not paid in the allotted time, the fine doubles to $50, Deppen said.

Asked if he thought a 30-day warning period was appropriate, he suggested that the change could not take effect immediately and that delay would be warning enough.

Council Member Richard Kolcharno said those who are taking advantage of the system will receive a sort of warning if they continue. “The warning is $25.”

Locust Street speed

After analyzing traffic on Locust Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Park Street, Deppen said he believed the best way to cut down on speeding problems there was to reduce the speed limit.

Council unanimously approved a reduction from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.

Overhead banners

The council considered adding an overhead banner location as a courtesy to local theater.

When the members heard that changing the locations would add liability to the city, they reconsidered.

According to City Manager Nancy Freenock, updating that ordinance would make the city subject to changes made by PennDOT that require a city take liability for damages to “person or property” caused by banners.

The city is currently grandfathered in under the old rules.

The existing locations are Market Street at Sixth Avenue, Ludlow Street between Allegheny and Sill, and at the Glade Bridge. The city will not approve any banners at the proposed Celeron Park location.

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