Parking meters went active on the Square Sept. 2 and are still raising controversy among the Oxford and University community. Although the meters bring in money and improve the overall traffic situation downtown, not everyone supports the new measures.
The meters, installed over the summer, came as somewhat of a shock to students accustomed to parking wherever they choose on the Square.
Elizabeth Kruczek, a junior accountancy major and regular frequenter of Pure Barre on the Square, was frustrated when she learned of the new parking meters.
“I understand that the meters are bringing in a lot of money to the city of Oxford, especially on game weekends, but they come as somewhat of an inconvenience for me when I have to park on the Square so regularly,” she said. “The fees add up over time and getting a ticket is especially expensive.”
Each time someone receives a parking violation, the fee increases incrementally by ten dollars.
Matt Davis, Oxford parking division director, said the first six days the meters were running, the meters earned approximately $10,000.
If the parking meters brought in $10,000 in only the first six days of operation, the potential they had for the first home game weekend was high. Davis said $8,000 was brought in just over this last weekend, but he added that monetary gain was not the only positive attribute of the meters this past weekend.
“The meters were effective on Saturday to where people were not leaving their cars on the Square all day for hours on end,” he said
Though they have annoyed some Oxford citizens, the parking meters are good for small businesses downtown.
“Especially from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the meters turn fast, and that is good for my business, gameday sporting business, and elderly people who cannot walk far distances to shops and restaurants,” said Jeff Johnson, small business owner and member of the Downtown Parking Advisory Council.
“The meters create parking spots,” he said.
As members of the parking advisory council, Johnson and fellow council members give aldermen advice on measures they intend to pass. Johnson commented that the funds from the parking meters will go toward eventually building a parking garage behind City Hall.
“With the advent of the parking meters, this is the first time that a parking garage has become a possibility for Oxford, and the city really needs one,” he said.
The meters are active from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and will be running for the majority of the year, excluding some holidays.