Calling all knitters and crocheters! We love nothing more than a good protest and a protest with needles seems even more interesting!
As you may know, the City of Alexandria recently raised parking meter rates without considering changes to the parking meter infrastructure. Providing alternative means to pay the meters by installing multi-space meters that accept credit cards and paper money should have been done before the new meter rates went into effect. While we understand the budgetary needs for the meter increase, an alternative method of payment should have been offered before this increase went into effect. The empty parking spaces up and down King street are a good sign that this increase has had a tremendous impact on the number of shoppers in town now. Further, the City is planning to extend the hours that meters are in operation from 6pm or 7pm to 10 pm! This will make our evening classes virtually impossible to attend if you travel by car, as you will be unable to leave your car in a spot for more than two hours.
Small businesses and shoppers alike are frustrated by this recent move. I have heard so many of you tell us that you have to run back out because your meter is going to expire. Meanwhile, in neighboring communities like Arlington and DC, you are able to pay by phone or with a credit card at a kiosk. We are asking for people to support our efforts to educate the Mayor and City Council about the economic impact this seemingly minor changes has on our businesses and our community, and to urge the City to reverse this change until the proper infrastructure is installed. Specifically we are asking the Council and Mayor to:
- Roll back parking rates to $1.00/hr during the week until the new multi-space, multi-payment option meters are installed City-wide. We have heard that there is a concern that employees of the City’s businesses, not shoppers/diners are the ones who are parking in these spots. As a rule, our employees do not—and will not– take up these spots, and ask that City employees as well will join with us in leaving metered spots for those who have chosen to patronize Old Town businesses.
- Eliminate meter fees on Saturdays, as we approach the holiday season to allow this city’s small businesses a chance to compete with the malls and shopping districts around us that have free and unrestricted parking lots and garages.
- Don’t adopt the proposed extension of the meter hours until 10 pm as it will have a horrible impact on our city’s restaurants, movie theatre and service businesses that offer classes and workshops in the evenings.
PLEASE, I encourage you all to sign this petition.
Then join us for a demonstration at City Hall on Tuesday, October 12, 6:30PM. Bring your needles, hooks and pitchforks. We will be making signs at the shop on Monday and Tuesday, so feel free to stop by and borrow some posterboard, some markers and make protest signs! I totally missed the 60s, having not been born for twenty more years, so this is a lot of fun!
Then, send an e-mail to the City of Alexandria’s Mayor and City Council through this handy online form. Whether you are a resident or not, you have a voice. You are all vital to our local economy!