PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Merchants along Thayer Street in Providence say about a dozen businesses have been forced to close up shop in recent months. They’re pointing the finger at newly installed parking meters.
“What took our family 75 years to build, they decimated it in six months,” real estate developer Ken Dulgarian told Eyewitness News.
He’s one of 80 business owners who have signed a petition requesting the city remove the meters, which were put in place last year. He claims to have received complaints that the meters are too complicated, often don’t work, and charge a $2.50 fee to shoppers paying with a credit card. Store sales, he estimates, have been off by 40 to 70%.
“You want to look around, you want to make it like an afternoon, you can’t do that,” Dulgarian said. “You got to be in, out and keep looking at that watch, oh boy.”
The Mayor’s office says in 2014, the Thayer Street merchants were among several groups that assessed traffic and ultimately agreed on the meters. City officials are sympathetic over businesses closing, but saying blaming the meters may be misguided.