Free garage parking in downtown Williamsport as crews work to clear roads

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Central Pennsylvania is also getting plenty of snow and the city of Williamsport is making garage parking free to the public.

It’s in an effort to clear the roads during the winter storm.

Officials here say moving vehicles off the streets will play a key role in getting these streets plowed and cleared quickly — an effort which, here in Williamsport, isn’t always easy.

“But if you do come downtown, please, please, please park in the garage. They’re open until Thursday morning,” said Dave Kish, on-site manager for Williamsport Parking Authority.

As the city of Williamsport begins to dig out, parking and transit officials are urging drivers to heed their warnings and keep the downtown streets as empty as possible.

“Not only street meters, but the municipal lots as well. If people get into the garage, it’s a lot easier and a lot quicker for things to get cleaned up,” said Todd Wright, planning manager for River Valley Transit.

Wright says it comes down to where they can put the snow, which is a non-issue when cars don’t line the roads.

“It’s mainly just the amount of snow, and quantity, and where you can put it. And the amount of time it takes to haul it out and clean it up,” Wright said.

To make matters more difficult, officials say the number of narrow, one-way alleys throughout the city center make those efforts more challenging.

“With parking on them, it can become a nightmare. So as long as we can keep cars off the street, offer them free parking in the garage, the sooner the streets become clearer,” Kish said.

Bob Elion has lived on West 4th Street for 44 years. While he has the luxury of off-street parking, Elion says it’s incumbent on everyone to help the city’s workers get the job done.

“There’s no other alternative, that’s the way they plow. That’s just the consequence of plowing, so I think its my obligation to take my vehicle off the road and put it in the back,” Elion said.

After two major snowstorms in the span of six weeks, Elion commends the city’s initiative.

“They don’t have the personnel to handle a storm of this magnitude. So I think in all, they’ve done a great job,” Elion said.

Those two free locations are the Third Street Garage at 115 West Third Street, and the Church Street Transportation Center at 11 West Church Street.

They’re both free until Thursday morning at 8 a.m.

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