If you did a double-take when parking in New Hope this month, you’re not alone. Drivers parking on borough streets may be surprised to find that hourly kiosk rates doubled in late July, increasing from $0.75 to $1.50 per hour ($0.50 per 20 minutes).
For reference, parking in Lambertville, NJ, and Trenton, NJ, each cost $1.00 per hour, according to their websites.
Why the rate change? According to council members at a July 6 meeting, good parking practices imply that street parking should always be more expensive than private parking lots. All private lots in New Hope Borough cost more than $2 per hour.
The theory was put to the test in cities like Chicago and San Francisco in 2012 and, according to the New York Times, alleviated some of the burdens of overcrowded streets and wasted resources.
Cheap street parking encourages drivers to avoid the steep pricing at covered garages and private lots. By raising the price of street parking, officials in those cities limited the endless circling of cars on popular streets and opened more parking spots overall as drivers either parked elsewhere or parked for less time.
According to reporting by Time, economists believe an increase in street parking costs will reduce road congestion and provide funding for other municipal projects. The borough council hoped to use the extra revenue provided by the raise to fund a new garage; however, it may be needed to balance the yearly budget instead.
Council members noted that the increase in the street parking price is aimed at tourists rather than residents, who are eligible for permit parking. Permit parking was also raised earlier this year but the $25 annual rate will not change at this time.
Along with parking news, council members at the latest meeting voted to approve a proposal for accreditation for the police department. Accreditation is achieved through the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (PLEAP), which is overseen by Law Enforcement Accreditation Services and was introduced to Pennsylvania in 2001.
According to the PLEAP website, “Accreditation is a progressive and time-proven way of helping institutions evaluate and improve their overall performance.”
The council granted certificates of appropriateness to properties along Bridge, West Mechanic, and South Main streets. Certificates of appropriateness are issued by the borough council after recommendations from the nine-person historical architectural review board (HARB).
They are required before any changes can be made to buildings within a Historic District, of which the borough has several. These districts were established in New Hope in 1987 through the commonwealth’s 1961 Historic District Act, which is used to preserve sites around Pennsylvania.