A report that a machine took a person’s credit card and did not return it turned out to be a hoax, Katz said. Even that “problem” caused a rapid response from the village and ATI.
“We heard that someone lost their credit card and we were scrambling to get a key out to the machine,” he said. “When we finally did get the machine opened, it turned out there was no credit card.”
To Katz, even the responses to the glitches are illustrative of a village that he admits is divided on the paid parking issue.
“I believe if you are for paid parking, or neutral, if anyone is neutral at this point, then you understand there is a transition period,” he said. “If you are against paid parking, then everything is a nightmare.”
At the public forum, Helmut Michelitsch, owner of Metro Cleaners & Coin Laundries in the Doubleday Field parking lot, was the only person to speak out against the paid parking, but he said he raised the concerns of many people.
“I have not talked to one merchant that is happy with the program right now,” said Michelitsch. “The feeling is it alienates local customers and residents. They just have this thing about paid parking and because of it, they don’t want to come here.”
Vinnie Russo, owner of Mickey’s Place on Main Street, said that his problem with the paid parking is that it needs to be expanded more. He pointed to Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario as a similar tourism site that has all-paid parking.
“They have basically the same layout at Niagara-on-the-Lake as we do here,” said Russo, who also owns a parking lot on Chestnut Street that competes with the village parking lot and spaces. “They have paid parking throughout their entire tourist district.”