Bloomington delays vote on parking meter plan

The Bloomington City Council has delayed a vote on a proposal to install parking meters amid opposition from business owners in the college town's downtown area.

The council voted 8-1 Wednesday to push back its decision on the plan for six weeks to give business leaders time to prepare alternative proposals. The delay does not prohibit the council from tabling the issue once again in March.

The Herald-Times reports that Bloomington's Chamber of Commerce had asked for 90 days to allow time for an advisory committee to form and study the impacts of metered downtown parking.

Local business owners fear that adding paid meters would hurt the local economy and their businesses at a time of continuing economic struggles.

City council President Darryl Neher asked the mayor to detail what types of meters his administration is considering.

"I believe there are alternatives we can pull together," Neher told the Herald-Times. "There have been productive dialogues that have taken place. I will participate in them as well as my colleagues will."

John McGuigan, an employee of Caveat Emptor, collected more than 3,000 signatures against the paid parking proposal and called the plan "economic eugenics."

Council member Marty Spechler has said downtown caters to "well-heeled" individuals because of increases in housing costs in the area.

In an earlier straw poll, the council voted in favor of paid parking downtown. Spechler, who cast a "yes" vote in that poll, said the proposal will be stronger in six weeks and that he "looks forward to voting for it again."

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