Two correct steps taken to bolster downtown parking

By virtue of a $4.7 million line of credit arrangement that is being shared with River Valley Transit, the Williamsport Parking Authority recently announced it will be keeping its parking rates the same for the next year.

A savings of $250,000 a year through the 10-year refinancing package is allowing the authority to hold steady with its rates, which include $40 a month for monthly surface lot parking in addition to metered parking and two parking garages throughout the rest of center city.

And speaking of meters, the authority’s next capital improvement project involves replacement of the existing older on-street meters with new meters that accept credit cards for payment. An estimated 200 meters will be replaced over the summer.

Such is the reality of today’s consumer that credit cards for on-street metered parking are an important option to provide.

Holding the rates steady and providing credit options are important elements in the downtown parking toolbox.

Williamsport has a downtown that is cleaner, more modern and more completely occupied than most other cities its size. With the Lycoming Mall and other retail centers sustaining some major losses in recent years, center city is well positioned to increase its retail might in coming years.

One of the few sticking points with many people is the cost, convenience and accessibility of on-street and lot parking. The parking authority and city administration have taken multiple steps in recent years to improve the center city parking situation.

The two most recent steps — stationary rates and credit card availability for on-street metered parking — are the correct direction.