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Palmerton chamber sees parking as problem that will get worse

Published May 20. 2013 05:04PM

The more it prospers, it appears the more magnified the parking shortage that exists in Downtown Palmerton has become.

Exactly how to sustain that growth, yet provide enough parking to accommodate it, was of chief concern to members of the Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Kern, chamber president, noted that the matter, discussed at a recent chamber luncheon, has been a hot topic of debate at borough council meetings in recent months.

"We've seen the comments that the parking has become troublesome, too full, and not available," Kern said. "I see this as a potential problem that's only going to get worse."

Despite those concerns being publicized, several members who own businesses in the downtown said they don't believe the parking situation has improved over time.

Kern said the entertainment park scheduled for Blue Mountain Ski Area is an attraction that could have a positive impact on Palmerton's downtown businesses, as long as the right moves are made to accommodate the increased flow of visitors.

"With the advent of the theme park out there, we will have lost an opportunity if we don't address the parking," Kern said. "What are some of the solutions."

Private lots, municipal lots, metered parking, and parking garages were some of the ideas mentioned by chamber members as part of the discussion.

Kern said there's a difference between a chronic problem - whereby people park and leave their vehicles in the same spot for days - and an acute problem - such as limited parking in lieu of special events.

"We have to examine the problem, study the problem, and let somebody else solve it," he said. "We have to diffuse the problem."

Kern added "we all have a need to have transient parking. If you don't have that, you don't have any customers."

"Palmerton still has the capability of flow both in and out," he said. "To ignore the problem will only make it worse."

Kern then suggested that perhaps a professional study should be considered.

"It is an issue," he said. "If we can't define what the issue is, then we can't solve the problem."

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