FPNA Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Monday, April 11th at the Vartan Gregorian Bath House Community Room, 455 Wickenden Street.
FPNA, WAMA Meet With Mayor
The Fox Point Neighborhood Association, FPNA, and the Wickenden Area Merchants Association, WAMA, met with Mayor Jorge Elorza and his parking administrator in March to oppose the installation of parking meters in the shopping district. (The FPNA meeting with the Mayor was March 14, which was after publication deadline.)
The meeting between WAMA, Elorza and administrator Leo Perrotta broke the organization’s attendance records, but seemed to have little effect on Mayor Elorza’s position, according to WAMA President Vincent Scorziello. “We got his attention, but instead of addressing our numerous questions and concerns about the parking meters, he launched into a 15-20 minute recap of his State of the City address,” he explained.
“I think we all care about our city and what he's doing to improve Providence, and I know many of us in the room voted for him, but it certainly came off as tone-deaf and callous to ignore the concerns we brought up.”
Scorziello started an online petition, http://tinyurl.com/hlcpn92, on Wednesday, March 2nd, which in less than one week garnered over 700 e-mail signatures from persons, who oppose the Mayor’s parking meter plan. “We met our initial goal of 500 and then set a new one of securing 1,000 names,” he emphasizes. “Please sign our petition against this proposed plan, make thoughtful comments and share it with everyone,” he adds.
Comments on the petition have included this one: “Being a small business owner myself, the burden that Providence places on us is unprecedented to any other state. I know VERY little return. Enough is enough!!! Let's see Providence do something small business friendly for once in its recent history.”
Another echoed that sentiment, “…since the meters have been installed on Thayer St. a few months ago, I have stayed away from the restaurants and shops. STOP HURTING the neighborhood stores and shops with this Meter Madness!”
Perrotta claimed the City’s proposal to install meters was not just a desperate attempt to generate revenue, but instead was a way to help solve a parking problem on the street, Scorziello relates. “We, collectively, pointed out that they were trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist on the Wickenden,” he adds. “Our first-hand experience as business owners is not that there are too many cars, but not enough cars on the street.”
While the many opinions and arguments didn’t seem to sway the Mayor, WAMA did make some progress with the parking administrator, Scorziello says. “By the middle of the meeting after lots of venting, we did get Perotta to admit that perhaps meters on Wickenden could go from a ‘yes it's happening’ to ‘maybe it's happening.’
FPNA Vice President Daisy Schnepel says the meters will drive shoppers further into the side streets in historic districts like hers, making parking impossible for residents and their guests. The meters also will “ruin the historic look and feel of Wickenden Street,” she concludes.