Downtown Lawrence shoppers will not see hooded parking meters during this holiday shopping season, although some downtown stores will reimburse shoppers for parking meter expenses.
George Paley, owner of Natural Way Natural Fiber Clothing, 820 Mass., and president of Downtown Lawrence, said downtown merchants have decided against paying the city to put hoods over parking meters during the shopping season this year because the system was abused by some people last year.
But Paley said he plans to hand out quarters to shoppers at his store to pay for parking, and he expects other merchants to do the same.
In addition, Paley said a plan is under discussion by downtown merchants to provide tokens to shoppers which can be used in parking meters, although meters will have to be changed to accept the tokens.
"That's just a possibility," Paley said.
During the holiday shopping season last year, Paley said, the hooded meter system worked well for some but was abused by others.
Although many shoppers used the free parking spaces, he said merchants found that some people who were not downtown to shop but lived, worked, or just "hung out" downtown used the hooded spaces and left their cars in the spots all day.
Downtown merchants paid up to $200 each to the city to make up for lost city revenue from hooded parking meters in the 1989 holiday shopping season, Paley said.