Are shoppers the winners of the new parking meters?

By Sapeer Mayron ,

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NEW IN TOWN: One of the parking meters already installed in Apia. Photo: Misiona Simo.

NEW IN TOWN: One of the parking meters already installed in Apia. Photo: Misiona Simo. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Retailers along Beach Road expect to benefit from new parking meters installed in the Apia Township on Monday.

According to the Land Transport Authority C.E.O., Galuemalemana Ta'atialeoitiiti Tutuvanu-Schwalger, the meters will be operational in six months. 

The L.T.A. aims to reduce overcrowding in public spaces and traffic congestions, but some business owners see another benefit – more customers being able to park in front of their stores.     

Parking spaces on Beach Road are typically occupied all day by staff from neighbouring banks and ministries. 

Milano café Manager, Giovanni Rossi, says parking charge could allow their customers to have proper parking spaces. 

He said people aren’t interested in trying to have their lunch or meetings at his café because they know they will struggle to find parking.

“My guess is this will release more parks in town,” said Giovanni.

Plans to introduce parking meters in the Apia Township and popular public places began last July.

Back then, the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, said traffic needs to be managed properly because of Apia’s rapidly growing economy. 

“With the growing number of vehicles year in and year out, the parking meters will somewhat alleviate the overcrowding of public parking spaces and minimise traffic congestions, as well as traffic accidents.”

From one retailer’s perspective, there are no disadvantages to installing parking meters.

Tanoa Samoa Manager, Nora Seui, said it would be great to have parking for customers and her staff, and not just the people who work at the banks. 

She described how parking will encourage people to stay for short lengths of time to do their shopping before moving on and creating a space for another customer to do the same.

“I want to thank the L.T.A. for doing this,” Nora said. “For Tanoa there are only advantages here.”

Todah Café Manager, who wished to stay anonymous said he thinks a parking charge may deter those staff and and taxi drivers from taking up parking spaces his customers should be using.

“My customers tell me they are circling and circling and they go right around to McDonalds and do a circle to try and find a park,” the Manager said.

“I think it will be a real benefit for us business owners along this whole strip.”

Asked where the money collected should be spent, all three retailers said it should go back into traffic control or maintaining good roads.

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