Saint John parking

The chair of the Saint John Parking Authority says commuters are using residential areas of the central peninsula to park for free. (Connell Smith/CBC)

The chair of the Saint John Parking Commission wants parking meters installed on all streets on the central peninsula to make sure commuters are paying for parking.

Donna Reardon says drivers from other parts of the city, or from the Kennebecasis Valley, are parking in residential areas and then walking to work — a tactic to avoid paying for parking.

"To let people park for free is just crazy,” said Reardon, who is a city councillor for Ward 3. “Other cities don't do it and we're doing it here and we shouldn't be doing it, because it devalues everything."

Reardon says the plan won't hurt peninsula residents who will still be entitled to low-cost annual street parking permits. She wants parking meters throughout the peninsula and perhaps the Waterloo Village area.

But not everyone is a fan of the idea.

George Saunders is the owner of South End Convenience at the corner of St. James and Sydney streets and suspects he may be hurt by the plan.

He worries people will hesitate to stop at his store if they have to feed a meter. And he doubts there's a big problem with out-of-towners parking in his area...

"The majority of people that use these streets are people that live in the general area," he said.

Saunders likens meters to a tax, one he says his customers simply can't afford to pay.