Niagara Falls converts free parking to paid spots

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — As soon as this May, 40 new parking meters are expected to be fully operational in downtown Niagara Falls.

The plan was initially proposed back in 2011, and after years of back and forth with City Council, members approved it at Monday night’s City Council meeting. But some residents have mixed feelings about how it will benefit the city.

“Business is tough enough here in the Falls I own a couple businesses here and everyday is a struggle here in the Falls,” said Mark O’Farrell.

Mark O’Farrell is a co-owner of Players Lounge. He says the installation of parking meters downtown will negatively affect businesses.

“Any customers that come to my bar on the corner of Fourth and Niagara Street, Players, are going to have to pay for parking. Probably going to be a two hour meter so if they’re in there for over two hours there’s a chance of them getting a ticket,” said O’Farrell,

That sentiment was expressed by other residents just weeks ago in a city council meeting, where members denied the proposal. Now that the project finally got the go ahead, Mayor Paul Dyster says that means thousands of dollars in revenue for the city.

“We’re getting more and more visitors every year in downtown Niagara Falls, that means we have to use our parking resources wisely. It also means all these years we haven’t been charging on the street down there, we’ve frankly been leaving money on the table,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.

The more than $350,000 project is being paid for with casino funds.

The meters will be solar-powered, and will create 250 spaces.  Each spot could cost between $1 and $3 per hour depending on the season.

“I don’t think it would really hurt I mean I don’t think anybody is not going to come because of the parking meter but you know, it’s to be seen,” said William Maciver of Niagara Falls.

Mayor Dyster says the parking meters should be up and running by Memorial Day weekend for the start of tourist season. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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