Least awful parking
Everyone affected by parking enforcement in Berkeley Springs needs to clearly understand that we will never reach a perfect solution because there are simply not enough parking spaces available directly outside the businesses that need them. We are therefore left with trying to choose the “least awful alternative.”
Poorly enforced, no enforced parking or ridiculously low meter fees causes the upstairs apartment renters and downtown business employees to homestead the best parking spots. Tourist customers then cannot find parking spots, except on the back streets, which most won’t take because they come from a crime-ridden city where a block is the difference between life and death.
Good parking enforcement pushes the renters and business employees off the prime spots and prevents homesteading because they get too many tickets and therefore opens up parking for tourist customers. Additionally, meters and small fines fund a big portion of the police department, which does a good job of keeping the streets safe and prevents the illegal drug pushers and users from hanging around the downtown area and scaring off the tourists.
The junction of two major highways that makes Berkeley Springs an outstanding retail location also makes it a fine one-square-mile location for peddling illegal drugs. Sure, I’ll concede that illegal drug selling does go on in Berkeley Springs, but the Police Department makes sure the pushers stay moving, low profile and low profit, and when they don’t the drug pusher ends up sleeping on an exercise mat over at the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg.
We cannot avoid the basic facts of the downtown parking problem. The current solution has developed over the years for some very good reasons, and merchants wanting no enforcement had better watch out or they might get what they ask for.