Part of Chatham's downtown is seen in this July 22, 2016 file photo. (Photo by Ricardo veneza)Part of Chatham's downtown is seen in this July 22, 2016 file photo. (Photo by Ricardo veneza)

Store owners looking forward to extended parking in downtown Chatham

Businesses in the downtown Chatham area are happy to hear that parking on Fourth Street has been extended from a one-hour time limit to two.

The Downtown Chatham BIA brought the request to city council on Monday night, and councillors approved the parking extension on the downtown Chatham roadway.

Parking on the street has had a one hour limit since 2000, but the BIA argued that it’s time for a change. Fourth Street is the only remaining road in the BIA’s district that still had only a one hour limit for free street parking.

According to BIA Chair Paul Shettell, a parking extension will help visitors enjoy shopping in the area for longer periods of time.

Margie Siddall, manager of Lady Black Bird Boutique, was thrilled to hear the news. According to her, customers were constantly having to leave stores on the block because their parking time was up.

“Now they know they have two hours, that’s even better,” Siddall said. “That produces even more traffic because they know they're not going to get ticketed.”

She said she would always warn incoming customers about the limited parking. She also said customers won’t be the only one to benefit from this change and it will also be a relief for staff in the area.

“If we don’t have a valid parking ticket from the city in our window then we have to keep running out there to put money in the meter,” said Siddall. “If you're a business owner and you're by yourself, that's a pain in the butt.”

The extension is expected to come into effect within the next few weeks.

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