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White Plains Shops Skeptical of Parking Changes

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Although many downtown White Plains businesses appreciate the annual week of free downtown White Plains street parking the city passes each holiday season, many shops say they don't expect the free hours of parking and the new off-peak parking permit to significantly alter holiday sales.

Thompson's Art Supplies expects a small boost in customers from the free downtown street meter parking Dec. 19 through Dec. 24, but closes too early to see the 6 p.m. to midnight resident parking meter appease customers during the work week.

"The holiday stuff is great. I know it helps, but I don't know how much it helps," said Phill Sohn, the Mamaroneck store's manager. "Customers complain about tickets though. That's always a concern."

The city will offer up to two hours of free parking in downtown White Plains meters, which will be identified with a red bag, during the week leading up to Christmas. The White Plains Common Council also rushed to pass a new resident off-peak parking permit before the holiday shopping season kicked off. The $75 annual permit cost will allow residents to park for free in seven lots from 6 p.m. to midnight during the work week and from 10 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

Gary Lucas, who took over the Floral Designs of Westchester this July, said the holiday promotion may not "create more of a market, but it sets a nice tone for the community." However, he said the new resident permit was completely "not applicable" to his business.

Even bars, including, the Wicked Wolf Tavern and Black Bear Restaurant and Saloon , remained skeptical of the new permits' benefit, particularly on weekends, when customers tend not to head out until 10 p.m. or later.

"I haven't seen a difference because of the permit," said Liam Ryan, who manages both bars, of the resident parking pass created on Dec. 5 . "Everybody rants and raves about parking."

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