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Eastwood groups wants to pull parking pay stations

Scott Makarchuk said he walked around the corner of his bookshop in Eastwood one windy day and looked down James Street to see parking tickets flapping on the windshield of every car on the street.

A few months later, there weren't any cars to be ticketed, Makarchuk said. He co-owns and manages Books and Memories at 2600 James St.

The sudden enforcement of parking regulations in the neighborhood didn't spark people into paying for metered parking on the five-block stretch of James Street, he said. It drove people away. The neighborhood looks abandoned. People found free parking off the main drag or have stopped patronizing the Eastwood business corridor all together, Makarchuk said.

Either way, it's bad for business.

That's why he's leading the fight to pull the parking machines from the street.

Pull the pay stations

"For the city, it must have been good money initially, they must have been rolling in the cash," Makarchuk said. "The reality was, this neighborhood slowly responded by not parking on the street anymore."

When the street looks empty, he said, people won't stop to shop. They think they're doing something wrong by parking on the street, or that the businesses aren't worth stopping for, Makarchuk said.

His own sales have dropped nearly 40 percent "every day since they emptied the street," he said.

He contacted the mayor's office. Not only was his business hurting, Makarchuk argued that the empty street would invite crime.

The city, he said, suggested he organize a community effort to possibly negotiate lowering the parking rates.

"But it not about the rate," he said. People aren't parking and patronizing in Eastwood because of the hassle, not the price of parking, Makarchuk said, and the only solution he sees is to remove the machines all together.

In response, Makarchuk has organized two petitions -- one strictly for Eastwood merchants, the other for the community as a whole -- to take to the mayor's office to fight the parking enforcement.

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