There will be a few less places for riders to park their Harleys and other motorcycles for free during this year’s Thunder in the Valley.
But organizers do not expect the change to impact the event.
In an attempt to save money after losing approximately $30,000 during the 2013 rally, the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau reserved fewer spots from the city of Johnstown than it has in the past. Last year, the bureau paid for parking at 142 meters on Thursday and 285 on Friday, according to Lisa Rager, the bureau’s executive director.
This year, there will be no free openings on Thursday, June 26, and only 198 on Friday, June 27, although multiple motorcycles can fit into the spots that would normally be used for only one vehicle.
The bureau figured no bagged spots were needed on Thursday because most riders do not come into the downtown region until nighttime, when they would not need to plug meters anyway.
All downtown parking on Saturday and Sunday, June 28 and 29, will once again be free.
“I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference to the motorcyclists,” said Rager.
Reducing the reserved parking should save the bureau almost $2,000, since the cost is $8 per day per meter.
“That really was costing us,” Rager said.
Any rider who parks at a spot that is not reserved by the bureau will be subject to the city’s normal parking rates and laws, according to Johnstown police Capt. Andrew Frear.
“(The CVB changes) really shouldn’t affect us at all, though,” Frear said.
Motorcyclists will be able to park for free on the following streets: Johns (Route 56 to Main), Main (Johns to Franklin), Walnut (Lincoln to Washington), Washington (Union to Walnut), Market (Vine to Washington) and Franklin (Vine to Washington).
“There is still a lot of parking in the downtown,” Rager said.
The bureau also recalculated the number of vouchers it needs to provide to the Intermodal Transportation Center, located at Walnut and Lincoln streets, for drivers who are displaced from their spots in private parking lots that are used for Thunder activities. That reduction is expected to save the bureau approximately $4,000.
Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Dave_Sutor.