Monday July 9, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Parking restrictions along Tyler Street may soon be eased in an effort boost business along the major city roadway.

The City Council on Tuesday night will consider establishing a two-hour limit on both sides of the street that already have time restrictions on parking. The sections of Tyler Street where parking is prohibited will remain unchanged.

Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, at the urging of several city councilors, proposed the parking limit, recently endorsed by the Pittsfield Traffic Commission.

If approved, the new limit will take effect a week later, allowing the city time to publicize the parking change and erect new parking limit signs.

The council meeting is 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Currently, the parking limits on Tyler Street range from 15 to 90 minutes along most of the three-quarter-mile-long thoroughfare, according to Ward 2 Councilor Kevin J. Morandi. However, Morandi claims a number of business owners and their customers have complained that's not enough time to shop or dine in the area.

"Businesses say people spend time and money in their stores, only to come out to find they got a ticket," he said.

While some business owners who depend on a high turnover of customers prefer shorter time limits, Diane Marcella, chairwoman of the Tyler Street Business Group, expects the change will be a good thing in the long run.

"If you're going to eat somewhere, you want to relax and have more time to enjoy yourself," Marcella said.


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Morandi said the two-hour limit could be a boost for Tyler Street businesses, as the present parking restrictions seem to scare away potential customers.

"I understand we need parking regulations, but we have parking on both sides [of the street] that is under-utilized," he said.

Improved parking is the latest effort to boost the Tyler Street economy.

This spring, 11 members of the Tyler Street Business Group sponsored 10 banners that were erected on new or existing poles along the street.

The bright orange "Discover Tyler Street" pennants are intended to encourage people to stop and shop at the area's stores, according to the merchant organization.

Two years ago, the group held its inaugural "Discover Tyler Street" celebration featuring live outdoor entertainment, activities and special sales from the local merchants. The one-day event held on a Saturday is akin to the city's popular monthly Third Thurs days from May through October.

This year's event is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Last fall, the group requested and the city agreed to use Tyler Street as the route for the annual Pittsfield Halloween Parade, traditionally held on North Street. Marcella had said the parade was a big hit with shopkeepers and area residents and she hopes it will return this year.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.