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July 24, 2013

Merchant: Downtown paid parking not working

Studio owner says more spaces needed for people with permits

HAVERHILL — A business owner said she is trying to play by the city’s downtown parking rules, but it’s not working.

If fact, it’s costing her extra money — sometimes in the form of parking tickets, she said.

Nancy Moussa, who operates Salon@13 in Railroad Square, said she bought an annual parking permit, but on many occasions the permitted spaces are occupied. That forces her to put money into a meter to park in an hourly space, she said.

“I pay for an annual parking permit, however the permit/paid parking spaces that are allotted are always filled with (hourly) paid parking folks,” Moussa said about a municipal parking lot on Wingate Street, a short walk from her salon. “The permit parking is extremely limited and is not usually available, so I then must pay again to park via a meter.”

Moussa’s complaint is among several concerns expressed by drivers since Haverhill adopted paid parking downtown 11 months ago.

Moussa said the annual parking permit works for her when there are available permitted spots. But if she cannot find one of those spots, she looks for a “multi-use’’ spot, which are available to drivers with permits as well as drivers who pay hourly to park. Often, she said those multi-use spots are taken up by hourly parkers, leaving none for drivers with permits.

“I pay for a permit, but I’m not guaranteed a spot,” Moussa said. “There are some spots behind The Tap (restaurant) but it’s a long walk to my business.’’

Moussa said she often parks in front of her business in spaces that are limited to two hours of free parking until 3 p.m. If she’s still parked there after that time, she puts money in the meter, she said. But on several occasions, she got to the car too late and found a ticket on it.

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