CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - More than 500 people so far have signed an online petition demanding the city of Charlottesville remove the parking meters near the Downtown Mall.

The petition has collected more than 550 signatures and 200 comments in just two days.

Downtown business owners say the meters are hurting business and discouraging people from visiting downtown.

“It’s everybody,” says Joan Fenton, chair of the Downtown Business Association. “You have everything from the hot dog cart guy, to the library, to business owners, to customers, some clergy, just people who just like to come downtown who are very put off by the meters.”

The meters are part of a pilot program by the city.

The program is suspended for the holidays, but paid parking is expected to resume January 3 and run until March 5.