New parking plan could raise cost to potential customers

Store owner says a parking garage may be needed

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the number one complaint business owners get from customers: there isn’t enough parking. But a proposed parking plan could now make it more expensive to park in the few spots that are currently there.

There is a small parking lot behind the building where Zarra, Blue Marble, and the Toy Box are located. But it isn’t enough to accommodate all their customers. Despite signs that say the parking is for businesses only, some people still park in that lot and walk across the street.

Blue Marble owner Cathie Walz said that a parking garage may be expensive upfront, but could help the growing downtown area hold cars.

“What I’d like to see is a significant parking garage that allows people who work in town to park there,” Walz explained. “So that the street parking can be made available for potential customers.”

Employees at Zarra and Vici Hair Salon say that customers often have to run out and fill their parking meters.

The additional prices the town is proposing would make it so people have to pay more to shop at local stores, and carry more quarters with them.