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Jim Thorpe traffic issue discussed

A line of cars sits at a standstill on Rt. 209 in Jim Thorpe
Haley O'Brien
A line of cars sit at a standstill on Rt. 209 in Jim Thorpe.

Fall is Jim Thorpe's busiest time of year with leaf peepers traveling there by train or car. But the popular tourist destination seems to have outgrown its infrastructure.

On Saturday, the county lot was full at 9:30am, according to Police Chief Joe Schatz.

The lack of parking has long been an issue that local leaders have worked to tackle. Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad started a train route from Pittston this year, bringing 800 shoppers into the town every weekend who don't need parking. Despite this, and the borough's fall foliage parking system, the problem remains.

At Monday night’s Carbon County Commissioners debate, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein recommended building infrastructure and a transportation system just outside the borough.

“Perhaps we can make a substation in Lehighton, Nesquehoning, or other places for a railroad station with large parking areas. People in Lehighton don’t want a parking lot, they want businesses. So we have to work with other municipalities in developing a plan to expand business into those municipalities.”

Commissioner Rocky Ahner suggested raising the price for parking, or charging per person rather than per vehicle.

The string of rainy weekends and lack of parking didn't keep visitors away. Shop owners in Jim Thorpe say they shattered sales records for October.

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