‘Grace Period’ and some lower rates proposed for Harrisburg parking

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Drivers in Harrisburg could soon be paying less to park downtown. Parking officials have proposed a plan that would include lower rates and more flexibility.

One proposed change would be a 5-minute grace period after a meter runs out and before someone is handed a $30 parking ticket.

“That’s really key because I know there’s a perception that these enforcement officers are hovering. Their electronic devices aren’t even going to register a parking violation until 5 minutes after the time has expired,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse (D) Harrisburg.

Mayor Papenfuse has been fighting for changes within the parking system to increase visitors downtown. The Mayor will give details of a new proposal which includes reduced weekend and lunchtime parking rates at a press conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 25, 2015 in the atrium of the MLK Government Center, 10 North Second Street.

The Mayor will be joined by representatives of the Parking Authority, SP Plus and PANGO to announce the proposed package of incentives that reduces some parking rates and encourages people to shop and dine in the City. The Harrisburg City Council will vote on the proposal at its 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting.

Among the proposed incentives are four hours of free parking for drivers who use the PANGO phone app on Saturdays. The plan would also include a 'happy hour' with reduced rates weekday evenings from 5-7 p.m. costing a driver $2 an hour instead of $3 an hour.

"We're at a critical moment in the parking system, and to ensure that the city gets the payment that it needs, we need more people to come down to the city and park," said Papenfuse.

The Mayor and parking officials discussed some of the proposed changes during a meeting Tuesday as members of the PA Economic Development Financing Authority reviewed the first year of the parking system.

"There was some damage that was done, the transition was not as smooth as it could have been. There was not an emphasis on customer service but the good news is we're only in year two," said Papenfuse.