Seymour Street in Hartford's South Green was a quiet, stable, one-block enclave of rental apartments between busy Hartford Hospital campus and the bustling Park Street commercial strip.
Then, three years ago, in an attempt to cash in on automobile traffic at either end of Seymour Street, city officials installed parking meters on the block, making life difficult for apartment dwellers.
Unlike newer structures, where off-street parking is included, Seymour Street's older buildings have little off-street parking, forcing residents to leave their cars on the street.
As a result, some people who live there have accumulated many more parking summonses than their modest incomes can afford.
Common sense suggests that the problem could be solved by providing residents with city-issued parking stickers or permits, as is typically done in cities and suburban towns where housing and commercial areas coexist.
Mayor Eddie A. Perez promised help in 2003, shortly after the meters were installed. Although the city has occasionally eased up on the summonses, the promise has not been kept.
In February, when the Hartford Parking Authority took over enforcement of on-street parking rules, parking summonses once again began raining on the people of Seymour Street. Residents held another standing-room-only protest meeting recently.
This time, Mr. Perez sent a representative who was not authorized to make decisions. Also attending were representatives from the hospital, the police, Broad Park Development Corp. - owner and manager of most of the apartments - and James J. Kopencey, executive director of the parking authority. All that the tenants won was Mr. Kopencey's commitment to hold off temporarily on ticketing while the agency studies the permit idea.
Why the delay? There is no rocket science to providing resident parking permits.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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