It’s late in the year for fireworks, but a community meeting to be hosted Monday night by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman could well deliver some.
The subject will be Coleman’s proposal to install 525 metered parking places on Grand Avenue, the city’s most popular shopping destination. Businesses and neighbors have rallied in recent weeks to express strong disapproval of the plan, which is slated for implementation next spring.
The meeting will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday in the main auditorium at William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Av.
Coleman wants to expand downtown parking meter hours and consider commercial strips outside downtown for meters. Grand Avenue would serve as a pilot program for other possible locations in the city, while raking in an estimated $800,000 annually in parking revenue.
Parking on Grand is free and currently regulated by signs, but city officials going back 30 years have looked for more effective ways to turn over street parking. The issue is so contentious that the last such study, about 10 years ago, failed to make any recommendations.
Opponents say parking meters will discourage shoppers and push more cars into surrounding neighborhoods. Two recent meetings on the issue drew hundreds of people, many of whom booed city officials who were trying to make the case for meters.