It seems that the institution of paid parking on Main Street has caused such a hullabaloo because various segments of the public each feels discriminated against. So-called “locals”, which seems to encompass both tax-paying village residents and non-residents from outlying areas, are aggrieved because they now have to pay for what they previously got for free. Tourists are said to be aggrieved, not necessarily because of having to pay, but because they are befuddled by the difficulty in getting the ticket machines to operate properly. Merchants seem to feel that paid parking discriminates against them because, at bottom, they do not wish to appear to favor the custom of tourists in summer months over locals, both of whom they covet and need. To avoid that appearance, they have resorted to litigation against the village and its elected representatives.
What is to be done in the name of equal, non-discriminatory treatment of all concerned?
Each of the solutions offered to date by thoughtful and concerned commentators suffers by the requirement that one segment or the other of the public concedes its position from abolition of paid parking to retention, as is, or with some modifications. Each solution thus carries with it a discriminatory result against someone. To avoid discriminating against anyone or against all equally, the following solution is proposed.
First, Main Street, from Pine Boulevard to River Street should be permanently closed to all vehicular traffic, the roadway should be removed, and grass planted in its stead. The only movement on the new grass promenade would be foot traffic by locals, merchants and tourists alike. Exceptions would be for events such as the Memorial Day Parade, excluding of course motorized fire apparatus and other vehicles, and the annual caravan of Hall of Fame Members from the Otesaga Hotel to the Hall of Fame in horse-drawn carriages, not limousines and vans as has been the case up to now.