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Parking costs affect Scranton residents

Victoria Garafola, Correspondent

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Parking seems to be a hot topic both on and off campus. Whether the complaints stem from price or availability, many of us can agree parking is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Currently, parking in downtown Scranton has been on the minds and in the wallets of residents moving into many of the restored apartment buildings scattered around our city. These buildings seldom include parking, and rates at the “Electric City” parking garages break budgets at an overwhelming $82 – $138 a month!

After calling Scranton’s Department of Public Works and the Scranton Parking Authority (SPA), I learned that the options for parking are limited to the SPA garages and the few private lots in the city, with no discounts for residents.

The executive director of the Scranton Parking Authority, Bob Scopelliti, said that 90 percent of the revenue from downtown parking goes directly to the city of Scranton and 10 percent goes to the parking authority in order to maintain garages and pay workers.

Scopelliti also stated that the city sets the price for the parking garages. Both the Scranton Parking Authority and Department of Public Works acknowledged this issue has been bothersome for many residents and business owners.

Many other metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia, have incorporated reduced residential rates for parking, and this seems to be a useful solution. These rates encourage the growth of the city and therefore the economic prosperity of local businesses.

In order for downtown Scranton to return to the flourishing city it once was, the issue of parking needs to be addressed. Parking programs in other cities, like the one in Philadelphia, have been successful in solving parking issues and improving availability for neighborhood residents.

So, before signing the lease to that sweet new apartment in Scranton, ask your landlord what, if any, parking accommodations are included with your apartment. Hopefully, with snowballing interest and complaints, Scranton’s City Council will open their ears and offer downtown residents more reasonable rates.

To express your own interest in the parking problem, call City Council at (570) 348- 4113 or email any of the Council members directly through the website scrantonpa.gov.

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