Should parking meters be installed on Grand?

The paper on the other side of the river is pushing for meters on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, over the objections of businesses on the street.

“Metered parking would bring the area in line with other popular urban commercial strips and raise needed funds for the city,” the Star Tribune editorial says today.

Grand is an established destination with numerous bars, restaurants and shops. Finding parking to patronize those businesses is a growing challenge. Meters would drive more turnover, allowing more customers access to spots for quick trips. And meters would likely encourage more walking, biking and transit use to get into and out of the area.

Mayor Chris Coleman wants to install over 500 meters to bring in over $1 million in the city, which has a $10 million deficit on the horizon.

Will people just stop driving to the area?

Some of the business on the street think so.

Yesterday, a few dozen held a protest at Dixie’s parking lot yesterday, KARE reports.

“I’m really angry about the idea because we have permit parking on the block behind us. We only have one side of the street parking here because of the beer trucks and delivery trucks. So there’s never enough parking,” Billie Wahlstrom, who lives on Lincoln Avenue, said.

Some residents and businesses says the plan has less to do with solving a parking “ecosystem” problem than making a cash grab.

“Can you imagine having to pay $2 (in parking) to buy an ice cream cone?” Gary Huffman, owner of the Grand Ole Creamery told the Pioneer Press.

“The city has made it very clear that it is not about helping the residents or the business,” Jon Perrone, executive director of the Grand Avenue Business Association. “It is about revenue.”

A representative of the mayor’s office acknowledge the city handled the proposal “poorly”.