GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

April 16, 2013

Editorial: Revenue isn't only town parking goal

By many counts, the idea of installing new, more modern parking meters in downtown Rockport is a good idea.

The fact that the new meters, piloted in the town last summer and fall, offer credit card access and give parkers the chance to set the timer to perhaps an hour or less, should certainly be more convenient for residents and visitors alike. And Rockport Police Sgt. Robert Tibert noted the new meters are easier to read and should not need the level of maintenance as the towjn has needed in the past.

But in conjunction with the new meters, town officials are also looking to boost the parking rates from 50 cents an hour to $1. And while visitors may well be willing to shell out $5 to park in town for 5 hours — a bargain compared to big-city rates — Rockport’s leaders must also keep in mind that this bump is a 100 percent increase. And that’s not exactly visitor-friendly.

The use of the new meters and some level of rate hike will no doubt bring in added revenue, but this is the kind of change that should be about much more than revenue. And town officials should tread warily into any 100 percent boost.

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