'Pay to park' trial run could help West Reading parking woes


Parking in West Reading could soon cost you, depending on where you park in the borough.

The borough has been preparing to roll out a pay-to-park plan on a privately-owned lot on Penn Avenue for nearly a year.

Starting Tuesday, 100 spots painted in white on the lot will cost $1 an hour; the spots painted yellow will be free for drivers shopping in the stores surrounding the lot.

"Parking on the streets, as you can see, is very limited," said driver Gail Clifford.

"I don't know," said driver Richard Shila. "They need more parking. That's what they need.

Parking on the lot has been meant for folks visiting the shops in the strip, but over the years, drivers, in some cases, have parked there and shopped elsewhere. Now, through a partnership between the borough and the lot owner, the 100 spaces -- painted white and numbered -- are open to the public for a fee.

"It's been a challenge for as many years as I've been here," said West Reading Main Street Manager Mark Ratcliffe.

Parking in the spots can be paid for at a kiosk or on the MobileNow app.

As expected, paid parking comes with mixed reactions.

"I don't like the idea," said Clifford. "A dollar an hour is a bit much."

"It doesn't bother me," Shila said. "That's what happens with growth."

Borough leaders said needing to figure out parking is a good sign.

"When I came here 20 years ago, half the merchants or half the store fronts were vacant," Ratcliffe said. "Parking was not a problem, and the fact that it's problem is, because now, all of our storefronts are full."

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