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OUR VIEW: Metered parking price of progress in Kent

free ride to end with meters set to return to revitalized downtown

Published: January 10, 2014 4:00 AM

After an absence of more than 30 years, parking meters are on their way back in downtown Kent.

High-tech meters are expected to be in place this spring following Kent City Council's approval of their installation at 262 on-street sites in the downtown area. Locations remain to be finalized, but parking spaces throughout the central business district are likely to have metered parking.

The meters, according to city officials, will be "user-friendly" and able to accept not only coins but payments via credit cards, smart cards, tokens and cell phone apps. Parking rates remain to be determined.

The objective of metered parking is to discourage all-day parking in prime locations, freeing those spaces for more short-term use by patrons of food and retail establishments. That makes sense, given the influx of visitors to Kent as a result of development there.

We sympathize with those who will mourn the loss of free parking in the downtown area. Nobody likes to pay for what they've enjoyed free of charge for so many years. But this isn't the 1980s anymore -- and we're grateful for that. When parking meters were yanked more than a generation ago, finding a place to park in downtown Kent wasn't a problem; you could cross Main Street at high noon and have few worries about encountering traffic there.

That's changed, of course, because of the revitalization of the downtown area. Parking is at a premium because people are coming to Kent again. Paying for the privilege to park is one of the trade-offs for progress.

Non-metered parking will remain available at some locations, and our guess is that those spots will become coveted sites. Otherwise, it looks like visitors to Kent will have to become accustomed to paying for parking, just as those who visited there during its retail heyday in the 1950s and 1960s did. The free ride -- free parking -- is coming to an end.

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Ian_Maserb Jan 11, 2014 12:35 PM

I don't shop where I have to deal with parking meters. If they are needed, then they are a sign of too much congestion. Put them in. That will take care of the congestion as people will go elsewhere.

whizzard Jan 11, 2014 6:33 AM

If your wish is to have an abondoned area you just built up, then that is what is going to happen.  I never shop in Ravenna for I was tired of getting parking tickets.  Many times I have serviced customers down there and often I could not get back to the meter in time.  I really don't care about an app that would let me update my meter because for the same reason on the old.  Was so involved what I was doing that I lost track of time.

I avoid shopping in all towns or cities that have parking meters.  I was starting to shop in Kent because they didn't have meters, but now, it will be just another town on my list to avoid just like others will as the parking tickets start coming in.

I guess the ones in charge in Kent have not been to Ravenna.  There is no problem finding parking now, for very few visit Ravenna anymore.  There's always spots open.  You'd think since KSU is in Kent that the city would benefit from that but it seems KSU is running Kent and the officials in Kent are the Minions of KSU.  I'm just saying that is how it appears.

Parking meters, have they gone daft in Kent?

People of Kent, you need to vote people in that actually care about you guys.

I've never been to Kent since they put in that Acorn Alley stuff.  I was curious but I am pretty sure that it would take more than two hours to go walk around and see everything.  Just not worth a parking ticket to go do it.

Do these people ever really think this through or is it something in the water that causes this kind of thought and behaviour?

Martin Fleming

writesomething Jan 10, 2014 3:36 PM

Oldbenlucus, the City of Kent is on the books as a co-signer of sorts for most of this new development. If things go south, Fairmount may have to pawn the mess off onto the taxpayer. Hopefully, that will never happen.

oldbenlucus Jan 10, 2014 8:54 AM

A sad joke! Nothing more then a poor attempt to force people to park in an unused unneeded parking deck. What will your story be when downtown looks empty and the empty store merchants cry about having less customers then they have now. Will PARTA ever try to rent all their empty storefronts sitting empty for months since built? Keep fooling yourself and trying to fool the public.