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More parking meters, extended meter hours coming to Hertel Avenue

More parking meters will be placed on Hertel Avenue and paid meter parking hours will be extended.

If it is any consolation, the city also will add more streetscape and other improvements to the Hertel Avenue business district.

Also, the two-hour maximum parking in front of the North Park Theatre – and a block in either direction – will be extended to three hours to accommodate movie patrons.

By this fall, possibly as early as September, the city plans to install Pay and Display meters in the city-owned parking lots at 1464 Hertel Ave. and at 1511 Hertel Ave.

In addition, these and other meters on Hertel Avenue – from Delaware Avenue east to Main Street – will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The meters now are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All meters, except those in the movie area, will have a two-hour maximum.

“It’s all about turnover,” said Kevin Helfer, the city’s parking commissioner.

Hertel Avenue business owners have complained that existing parking rules enable a motorist to remain parked in a single spot in the busy restaurant strip all evening, and even overnight, he said.

As an example, Helfer said, a motorist who arrives on Hertel Avenue at 3 p.m. can pay to park for two hours, until 5 p.m., then keep the car parked in that same spot all night.

What’s more, residents of nearby side streets among others are parking in city-owned lots for long stretches of time, he said.

This lack of turnover makes it difficult to find a parking spot on the strip, which is bad for business, city officials say they have been told by the business community.

The city has also heard complaints from patrons of the North Park Theatre, at 1428 Hertel Ave., about the two-hour parking limit near the theater, said Delaware District Councilmember Joel P. Feroleto.

A movie will run two hours and 15 minutes, and movie patrons leave the theater to find a ticket on their car, Feroleto said.

That problem should be resolved, Feroleto said, with three-hour parking allowed in front of the theater and a block on either side.

That change will occur when the other Hertel Avenue parking changes are made, he said.

Helfer said half of the additional parking revenue resulting from the changes will be earmarked for the Hertel Avenue business district.

The city is creating a Hertel Avenue Parking Benefits District with a five-member board to determine how the money will be spent, Feroleto said.

Feroleto and Helfer will be on the board, as will representatives of the city Public Works Department, the mayor’s office and the Hertel Business District.

The money could be used for benches, gardens, trash and recycling bins as well as a sidewalk snowplow or public art project, said Helfer and Feroleto.

This would be the first such parking district in Buffalo, Feroleto said.

The councilman, whose district also includes the Elmwood business strip, said the city is currently undertaking an Elmwood parking study to address parking issues there. Once that study is completed, there could be changes on the Elmwood strip as well, Feroleto said.

email: sschulman@buffnews.com

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