Lehigh Valley

Parking tickets doubled during Musikfest

Parking tickets doubled during Musikfest

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - If you're headed to Musikfest in Bethlehem, make sure the spot you're parking in is legal.

Once again, parking tickets are getting more expensive for the festival. It's a move that's got people divided.

"Parking? Impossible," said downtown resident Marie Fry.

Over the next 10 days, up to 100,000 people are expected to cram into Bethlehem. Many of their cars will get slapped with tickets.

"With so many people coming to town, parking in those areas can cause other hazards at intersections -- parking too close or in front of fire hydrants," said Walter Keiper, vice president of ArtsQuest, the non-profit group that stages Musikfest.

Starting at noon Friday, fines will double from $15 to $30 -- $45 if you don't pay up within two weeks.

The higher fines are only within two "special event districts."

The North Side Special Events Parking Area extends north from the river along Eighth Avenue to Eaton Avenue, east on Eaton to Elizabeth Avenue, east on Elizabeth to Linden Street and south on Linden back to the river.

The South Side area extends south from the river along Wyandotte Street to Third Street, east on Third to Brodhead Avenue, south on Brodhead to West Packer Avenue, east on Packer to Hillside Avenue, south on Hillside to Thomas Street, east from Thomas along Sixth Street through St. Michael's Cemetery and continuing along Sixth to Lynn Avenue, north on Lynn to Fourth Street, east on Fourth to Emery Street and north along Emery to the river.

Opinions are mixed about the higher fines.

"As long as they provide enough public transportation to get down here, then I don't really have a problem," said Maureen Costura, visiting from Hyde Park, N.Y.

Frye disagreed.

"To me, it's a bad thing because we're trying to promote tourism, and that's a big thing that turns people off," she said.

Some wondered if drivers have gotten enough warning about the increased penalties.

When Bethlehem City Council approved the hike two weeks ago, council member Karen Dolan worried that many people would be caught off guard.

Mayor Robert Donchez said the increases will be posted on the home page of the city's website.

"They'll see the ticket on the first day and they won't want to come back, and they'll tell people not to come back, probably," said Stephanie Sportiello of Asbury, N.J.

So while you're partying this year, parking cops will be doling out higher fines.

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