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YSU parking meters to return

YOUNGSTOWN — After an absence of nearly a decade, parking meters on North Phelps Street, behind Youngstown State University’s Williamson College of Business Administration, will be back next week.

City council voted 7-0 Wednesday to have 18 meters installed on Phelps between Wood Street and Rayen Avenue. Council also agreed to raise the prices of the meters, making them the most expensive in the city.

The previous cost for the meters was 5 cents for 15 minutes and 25 cents for 75 minutes.

The cost will now be $1.50 per hour with a two-hour limit. The only other meters in the city with a fee that high are on Lincoln Avenue between Fifth and Wick avenues, also near the YSU campus.

Like the meters on Lincoln, the new ones on Phelps will accept coins and credit cards. Those will be the only two locations in the city with meters that allow payment by credit card.

The meters were removed when YSU built the business school and were never put back in by the city after the work finished in fall 2010.

“It slipped by for many years,” said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works, who added it only came to the city’s attention recently after YSU contacted his department.

For years, it’s been the best free parking spaces near the YSU campus, particularly for those with classes at Williamson.

The meters will be installed sometime next week, Shasho said.

When asked how much money the meters will bring in, Shasho said: “I don’t know. The guess is they’ll generate tens of thousands of dollars a year.”

The city plans to eventually re-evaluate its parking meters policy, Shasho said.

But that won’t happen until a major project to Fifth Avenue, between West Federal Street and Eastbound Service Road, gets underway, Shasho said. That is part of the city’s $26 million project to improve several major downtown streets including Fifth, Park and Rayen avenues as well as Commerce, Federal, Front and Phelps streets.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com