I am writing to address the recent surprise change in paid public parking hours in Haddonfield’s downtown district. Our town has recently transitioned to a kiosk payment system, requiring a minimum payment of one hour or more. While I acknowledge that the kiosk system offers the convenience of a mobile app and the ability to reload payments, we have forfeited the convenience provided by traditional meters, which allowed for free 12-minute parking and subsequent increments.
Additionally, the newly introduced paid parking signs originally specified parking enforcement from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but they have now been updated with a label to indicate Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm. I want to express my serious disappointment with the promotional social media posts related to this change, after it already took effect. It was presented with a cheerful tone, contrary to the reality that it places a financial burden on our residents and visitors. This change will discourage people from patronizing our town, reducing their willingness to shop, dine, and explore our historic community.
In my case, I am determined to avoid driving whenever possible and opt for walking to the downtown area. Instead, I find myself driving to neighboring towns where parking remains free, diverting my spending away from our local businesses. Considering the global increase in costs due to the pandemic, I recognize the economic challenges we face. However, shouldn’t our town aim to incentivize visits and ensure equity for all residents and visitors? Instead, we are greeted with parking fees six days a week, creating an additional financial burden.
Local businesses are in dire need of our support, and it is our responsibility to do everything within our means to help them thrive in this small town. I urge you to immediately reconsider.