Eileen Kennedy: Amherst parking system discourages visits to town

  • The parking kiosk in the lot behind CVS Pharmacy on North Pleasant Street in Amherst is shown Sept. 1, 2017. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Friday, May 10, 2019

I agree with Nat Herold’s assessment that Amherst’s parking situation is the most business unfriendly (April 20, “Amherst needs to get its parking act together.”

I recently went into town to shop at the Saturday Farmers’ Market, when I returned to my car to find my meter expired by 1 minute, and a $15 parking ticket. When I asked the officer, who was standing right there, why he hadn’t responded to my shouting and waving all the way down the hill, he said, “Oh well, I didn’t see you.”

The only thing this ticket makes me want to do, aside from moving out of Amherst, is to stop shopping at the Farmers’ Market in the summer season. Parking is free where the market is housed in winter at the Hampshire Mall. The last time I went into town to have dinner with a friend, my friend got a $10 ticket because we thought parking meters went off after 6 p.m. They don’t now, apparently.

I tend to go elsewhere now for a dinner out as I don’t want to deal with the parking meters. I downloaded the parking app, only to find that I was charged more for using the app than just putting coins in the meters, which are already inflated. I don’t know who initiated this system, how much we are paying for parking enforcement officers (I saw a car in town recently marked Amherst Parking Enforcement), and what this “extra” revenue is being used for, but I do know that this new parking system is discouraging me and many people in the valley from coming to downtown Amherst.

Eileen Kennedy