2011-07-28 / Letters to the Editor

New town parking system needed

We seem to be unable to stop the increase in taxes. There is, however, a solution that would give taxpayers some relief, and that is to increase revenue.

The Newport Daily News (July 20) reported the fee increase at the state beaches to $20. With the recession and high taxes, it should come to no one’s surprise that beachgoers are flocking to Jamestown where the beach parking is free the entire length of Hamilton Avenue and on all of its side streets. Friends keep commenting that we must have some jovial parties at our house with dozens of cars parked next to it. On a daily basis the street next to our house fills up before the beach parking lot is full. The word has gotten out.

Mind you, we are not complaining: The beach was here before we bought the house. Our motto is: “Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.”

We are not about to demand new parking ordinances requiring more police patrols as was the case at Heads Beach and Avenue B. If the Town Council knuckles under to every such NIMBY request, there would eventually be no parking on any Jamestown street.

In that same newspaper article it mentions Tybee Island, Ga., a 2.7-square-mile town with a population of 2,990. Its attractions are the ocean, beaches and a famous lighthouse, aspects similar to Jamestown but on a much smaller foot print. Their projected parking revenues of $2.15 million will rival their property taxes of $2.16 million.

I am under no illusion that Hamilton Avenue and its side streets could generate revenue equal to Tybee’s $2.15 million, but it would be a start. That goal could be reached by adopting the modern European parking system, now moving into New York City, in the beach area and in the remainder of Jamestown’s heavy traffic areas. Without going into technical details, suffice it to say that you pay for your parking at a small solar powered kiosk either with cash or credit card, for however many hours you want to park, and put the receipt, showing the expiration time, on the dashboard. A $1- or $2-per-hour fee with a $50 fine for violations could get us close to the Tybee Island revenue. The present kid-with-chalkon stick would justify his existence by checking the dashboard receipts.

Instead of a sticker, cars with Rhode Island license plates registered to Jamestowners would be issued the small parking-meter disc that every car in Europe has, allowing free parking for two hours anyplace in Jamestown. The driver simply dials in the arrival time and places the disc on the dashboard, no more antiquated chalk marks on tires.

If others can do it, I assume that Jamestown could too and without hiring a consulting firm. A bit of open mindedness would be required. We are sitting on a gold mine. Let’s start to pan it.

Frank Meyer
Southwest Avenue

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