The City of Saratoga wants to fix its parking problem. Its requested bids to implement a paid parking system downtown – but there’s pushback from the business community.

In Saratoga Springs, parking is a pain but it’s free.

“It’s so easy you, you get here, you pull up you park somewhere, you just walk around,” Patrick Ryan, of Saratoga Springs, said.

As usual, there’s bumper to bumper parking on Broadway. Cars circle until patience pays off. But a new plan could ease the issues – at a cost.

“If they have to pay a dollar to park to get a 2 dollar cup of coffee that doesn’t really make sense,” Dan Murphy, Owner of Uncommon Grounds, said.

Murphy has studied the harmful effects of paid parking on business and even has a petition against it. It’s in response to the city requesting proposals for a smart parking system. They’ve gotten several bids including a 58-page plan from LAZ Parking which suggests pay by phone parking.

“We’re against paid parking it an decrease sales by 10-30 percent is what we found.”

Some say it will hit young, low income people especially hard.

“It puts a real strain if you have to pay for parking as well as paying for the things that you require while you’re there,” Jesse Muse, of Saratoga Springs, said.

Paid parking would mean more cash flow for the city.

Maddy Zanetti, shop owner and President of the Downtown Business Association, says that revenue could be reinvested in parking infrastructure.

“The DBA is hopeful that if that money is brought into the city it is earmarked for something like a parking garage,” Zanetti said.

And that seems to be the only solution locals can come up with to solve the parking problem -more spaces.

“We’ve got space, they’ve been arguing about it like school kids for 15 20 years just do it,” Jeff Brisbon, of Saratoga Springs, said.

Build a parking garage and keep parking free? The public might find they can’t have it both ways.

The city plans to accept a bid on May 1. The first phase would be the completion of a parking study and the public will get a chance to weigh in.