Downtown Youngstown's parking problems prompt plan for meters on W. Federal

By David Skolnick


In reaction to complaints from downtown business owners about vehicular parking, the city plans to install 13 or 14 one-hour-maximum pay meters on a section of West Federal Street, as long as city council agrees.

“The parking is horrible; it’s killing the revitalization of downtown,” said Richard Thomashow, owner of Jerry Lee’s Jewelry in 20 Federal Place. “I’m 100 percent in favor of meters. But we need to have people patrol with more frequency for enforcement.”

The city is digging holes for the meters on West Federal Street between Phelps and Market streets. The city-owned 20 Federal Place office building is in the heart of that area.

The problem, local business owners say, is employees who work downtown are parking in the area, moving every two hours — the limit to park in a spot downtown — to avoid getting a ticket. Also, there isn’t much parking-limit enforcement later in the day and on the weekends, they said.

City council will consider legislation at its March 7 meeting to consider the meters, which would cost 75 cents for one hour with a one-hour limit, on that section of West Federal Street, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city public-works department. If council approves the proposal, the meters will be installed shortly thereafter, Shasho said.

“We’re trying to benefit the local businesses on Federal Street and trying to provide more parking,” he said. “Downtown workers are in those spots and just move around” to another spot after two hours.

“Parking meters are the only solution as long as they are more than a quarter,” said Barry Silver, owner of Silver’s Vogue Shop, across the street from 20 Federal Place. “I think 75 cents is fine because if someone has to move their car two or three times, they’ll be paying about the same as they would for a parking lot. Downtown workers are taking away parking from me and other downtown businesses.”

Silver said his business is being adversely impacted by downtown workers parking in spots near his shop. Some of the store’s customers, Silver said, don’t come downtown because they can’t find a parking space.

The V2 Wine Bar Trattoria, located in the Federal Building on the corner of West Federal and Phelps streets, will start offering valet parking to its customers Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in a few weeks, said Ed Moses, a co-owner.

“There’s not enough parking downtown,” he said. “People don’t want to walk.” With valet service, “people won’t have to worry about finding parking downtown.”

V2 will park their customers’ cars in a lot behind the Federal Building.

V2’s owners are deciding whether the service will be free or if they’ll charge a nominal fee of $1 to $2 per vehicle, Moses said.

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