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Lehighton council approves parking changes

Published November 26. 2013 05:00PM

Some changes are coming regarding parking in Lehighton's downtown, including extending hours for metered parking.

Councilman Scott Rehrig said the effective date hasn't been determined. Changes include:

• Meter parking will be from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the price being 25-cents-per-hour, except at marked locations where it will be 25-cents per 30 minutes.

The present rate is 25 cents per hour, but meter parking ends at 5 p.m.

• Parking for casino buses and route buses will be moved to in front of the former PNC Bank Building on South First Street.

At present, the buses park on South Street at the Lower Borough Park.

The council has received numerous complaints about this setup.

• Fifteen parking spaces with two hour parking limits will become available along East Alley between First and Second Street, in the area of the former PNC Bank parking lot.

Meanwhile, free parking will occur in the downtown from now until Feb. 1. No tickets for metered parking will be issued; however, police will still enforce illegal parking including parking in handicapped spaces.

Rehrig said the council is making an effort to respond to complaints from downtown business owners.

"We're trying to be pro-active," he said. "If anyone has any suggestions, come forward."

Outgoing councilman George Kogut had worked extensively on the downtown parking situation, including taking surveys of downtown business owners.

Some merchants wanted to see parking meters removed but others felt they were necessary. No consensus was ever reached.

At Monday's borough council meeting, several people complained about the buses parking on North Street.

Mike Sulek, who owns the Lehighton Elks Building, said at one time the Elks was comprised of over 1,000 members.

He said the Elks Club no longer exists, "so our resources are our tenants."

He said the buses parking across the street from the Elks Building create problems in that there are no trash disposals or other facilities for the riders.

"Please consider moving the bus stop...," he said.

Trudy Kunkle, owner of Trudy's Pooch Parlor, said she has been a tenant in the Elks Building for 18 years. "The bus situation is really going to put a damper on my business," she said.

She noted that besides having limited parking, fumes from the buses enter her pet shop when she opens the windows during the summer.

Hunsicker then announced that the bus stop is being moved.

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