Hartford businesses: Lack of street parking & signs are confusing and hurting downtown business

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HARTFORD -- Some Hartford businesses argue a lack of street parking in certain parts of the downtown is causing confusion and becoming a problem.  FOX 61 found out from the Hartford Parking Authority much of the issue is centered around improperly used signage.

The area of Main Street in Hartford, between Church and Asylum Streets is currently riddled with “no parking” signs, but some area businesses say that wasn’t always the way it was.

“From my understanding, it’s always been after 6 o’clock you could park right there, there’s never been an issue,”  Manager of City Steam Brewery, Brian Harris said.

But, the Hartford Parking Authority said that is not the case.  CEO and Director, Eric Boone, told FOX 61 businesses were told a year and a half ago that section of Main Street would become a “no parking” zone and be used strictly for buses, which run until 12:30 a.m. It was some time since then that signs allowing parking after 6 p.m. reappeared.

“There was some signage that came up saying that during, after 6 to 2 a.m. that people could park there," Boone said. "There’s little signs popped up and those little signs were not authorized, they were there a number of years ago, we took them down, and then all of the sudden they came back.”

Boone added they have since taken down the incorrect signs, but still do not know how they got there in the first place.

Rob Goldberg, owner and founder of Bar Rated Trivia reached out to FOX 61 with concerns over the street parking situation.  Much of his efforts running his trivia game business are aimed at getting customers into local bars and restaurants. He's concerned the lack of street parking and the confusion over the signs are deterring people from coming downtown.

“So street parking in a city at night, which isn’t a bustling city at night, is very important for a lot of people that are coming down,” Goldberg said. “There’s just a lot of stuff being done that’s making it more difficult for people like myself, the businesses that are running here, everybody, to really tell people, ‘Hey! Come into the city!’“

One of his biggest clients is City Steam Brewery, located in the heart of where the confusion over the parking signs is going on.  Harris said a lack of street parking has meant fewer customers.

“It’s been a little slower, you see people drive by and come and look for parking," Harris said.  "I think a lot of people don’t want to come downtown just to spend money downtown, to have to pay for parking."

The Parking Authority said they hear those concerns, but that this is all being a part of a city.

“I understand the concerns but with any street downtown you have to share the street you have to share the resource," Boone said. "Certain blocks are for cars and certain blocks are for buses and you can’t just let people out on the street. That’s just not safe."

Another concern Goldberg and Harris expressed were the costs of parking lots and alternatives in the area.  If you want to eat a restaurant in the area of Main and Pratt Streets, there are scattered metered spots on the street, which come with a two to three block walk in most cases.  The Parking Authority suggests using the garage they run which costs $6.50 for an evening.  Other lots in the area are privately owned and prices vary depending on the day.  The price can be upwards of $10 for a given weeknight.