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Monroe County Library Suffering From Paying Parking Meters

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Last week the Monroe County Public Library’s Board of Trustees discussed the negative effect parking meters are having on library patrons.

Board member Stephen Moberly referred to the library’s circulation numbers, which have declined since the downtown meters were installed in August.

“Looking at the chart, we had a slight decrease last year of half of one percent. This year, we had a 3.3% decrease,” Moberly said, “I think it’s attributed to one thing, though it may not be politically correct to say. The parking meters, I think, have been devastating to the library. You can come and see around the block that no cars are parked there, and there always were before because they were our patrons. Some retail merchants have closed and suffered because of the meters, but the library is suffering too.”

Board President Valerie Merriam says the library should tell the City Council and Mayor Mark Kruzan about what effect the meters have had. She says circulation hasn’t dropped this much in almost two decades.

“There is a general decline to everything that is related with coming in to the library,” Merriam said.

Moberly suggested that these are people that might not have the money to feed the meters, and that they should let city hall know about these concerns.

Library Director Sara Laughlin says she would convey those concerns to city officials. But Laughlin says she doesn’t have any short term solutions to reverse the effects.

“I think we’ve done what we can do in helping people find places to park,” Laughlin said, “In fact, I know that the parking finder page on our website is still one of the top pages on the site. Longer term, it would be great to have a second branch with lots of parking, otherwise we just can’t increase our parking capacity downtown.”

The library has also considered expanding hours on Sundays, when the city does not require drivers to pay the meters.

Best of 2013 # 1 – There’s no such thing as a free lunch: Parking Meters Nickel and Dime Downtown Bloomington

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One issue this year sparked more discussion and reached broader than any other. The defining story of our community in 2013 is the implementation of Parking meters in downtown Bloomington. Mayor Mark Kruzan had strong support from the city council and Public Works Director Susie Johnson in his push for bringing in parking meter revenue in to the city budget, but found little support from local residents, businesses, and social service providers.  The scheduled February 6th vote was put off 6 weeks for further conversation. The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce did not endorse the plan, and many concerns arose about how the meters would impact Bloomington’s poor, and those who volunteer their time at downtown social service agencies that help assist the hungry and homeless. But on March 21st the council did pass the parking meter plan, with several amendments from the initial proposal. Throughout the year the city assigned and then rearranged various fees and penalties, all the while reaping in thousands of dollars a day from residents parking downtown.

CREDITS
The best of 2013 is a production of the WFHB news department.
Today’s episode was produced by Alycin Bektesh
Correspondents Joe Crawford and David Murphy contributed to today’s reports
Our theme music is provided by Legs
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – December 12, 2013

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The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes HJR-6; The Bloomington City Council voted yesterday to do away with the stiffest penalties for violating the city’s parking meter rules; On Tuesday a newly assigned diversity official at the Monroe County Community School Corporation said minority employees there are mostly pleased with their work environment; Last Thursday, during a board meeting at Indiana University East in Richmond, IU trustees talked about the contracts awarded by the school to businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans; Two Monroe County officials gave a presentation Tuesday in hopes of quelling fears about a looming financial dilemma.

FEATURE
Pence on Education
On Tuesday December 10th Indiana Governor Mike Pence outlined his agenda for handling Hoosier education in 2014.   He praised Indiana standardized test scores and announced an initiative to provide grants directly to teachers, and stressed innovation in education. Highlights from his speech, here for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

VOICES IN THE STREET
Our weekly public opinion feature Voices in the Street asks you to reflect on 2013 and speculate what is to come in 2014.

CREDITS
Anchors: Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Yvonne Cheng
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Sarah Hettrick.
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley, and Maddie Glenn
Our engineer is Sarah Hettrick.
Our Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

MCPL offers free parking cheat sheet

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The Monroe County Public Library is advising patrons on how best to save money on parking now that most spots near the Library are metered. At a meeting August 21st of the Library’s Board of Trustees, Executive Director Sara Laughlin held up a brochure the Library designed to help patrons deal with what she called a complicated picture. Tickets for not paying the meters can be as high as $100. Laughlin said she is advising those who might be downtown for an unpredictable amount of time to use parking garages, where payment occurs when drivers leave the garage. She said the Library also has a guide to where free parking can be found. The parking finder is available here.

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