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Nyack Officials, Merchants Hash Out Parking Overhaul

Change would allow free parking during morning, evening hours

Nyackers may soon be able to grab dinner downtown without feeding the meters.

Village officials, local merchants and residents discussed a tentative overhaul of Nyack's parking strategy Thursday night, weighing the pros and cons of .

Laird-White is seeking to shift the paid and free parking times in the village; under her plan, paid parking would be in effect from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Currently, parking runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and costs 75-cents an hour.

"The goal is not primarily to increase revenue," Laird-White said, although the shift would add hours to the paid parking timetable. "It's to create a kinder, gentler Nyack. And businesses may be able to stay open longer."

It's a plan village merchants are willing to at least sample.

"It's a great idea to try," said Paulette Ross, who owns P. Ross on Main Street. "It's a little creative, a little weird... but it's fair."

Ross said she hears customers complaining daily about parking in Nyack—specifically about receiving tickets.

Candice Robbins, who runs another Main Street business, agreed, noting enforcement is "relentless."

"Parking officers watch and wait for meters to expires," she said. "They're doing too good a job."

Robbins suggested a five minute grace period after meters expire. Laird-White noted one is already built into the munimeters, but could be better publicized.

"[And] our parking signage is atrocious," the mayor added. "It's all going to be redone."

Other board members expressed trepidation with the new plan, however.

"We'll lose turnover," said trustee Steve Knowlton, noting someone could pull into a spot at 4 p.m., shell out less than two dollars, and stay there until 11 p.m.

's Ryan Spicer, like Knowlton, is wary of Laird-White's plan and less supportive than Ross and Robbins. Spicer, a co-owner of the bar, said Nyack shops and eateries are already competing with the Palisades Center and municipalities with free parking, like Piermont.

By making visitors pay for late night parking, the village is driving away business, he said.

For now, the concept remains in its nascent stages.

"We'll take ideas and cull them into a coherent document," Laird-White said. "Then we'll post it on the village website and continue the discussion."

JC Brotherhood January 27, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Want to address the alleged over zealous enforcement AND save money? Lay off two enforcement agents. Want to kill the parking in the downtown during dinner? Go ahead and shut down the meters between 6 and 11. No turnover, no parking, its that simple.
Richard Kavesh January 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
The current hours of enforcement are fine, sensible, and promote turnover, and the current pricing is very reasonable. Neither have been changed since 2008 or 2009. As former Parking Commissioner Brotherhood writes, shutting down the meters between 6:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. would be unwelcoming and uninviting, as it would lead to no turnover and hence no parking. The biggest complaints we get aren't over the pricing or the hours but over the "over-zealous" enforcement: "I just ran into the store (library, post office) and when I got back there was a ticket on my windshield." A small but easily-implementable idea to make Nyack more welcoming and inviting and possibly reduce the complaints about over-zealous enforcement would be to increase the grace period on the muni-meters from 5 minutes, which they are at present, to 10. At our current rates, a nickel, which would normally buy you 12 minutes of time, would now buy you 22, a dime would get you 34 minutes instead of 24, and a quarter would get you 70 minutes instead of 60. Nobody could complain that they were ambused by a parking enforcement officer, as tickets could only be issued after the 10-minute grace period had expired. A much longer discussion would include different rates at different times and places. Why should it cost the same to park on Burd St. at 2:00 P.M. on a Thursday afternoon as it does to park in front of the Village Inn at 8:00 P.M. on a Saturday night? Former Parking Commissioner Kavesh
Scotty January 28, 2012 at 01:54 AM
24 Hour pay....simple. No confusion. New and clear signs that tell the "parkee" that you pay a fair amount ANYTIME you park a car in our town. Fair all the way around. Worth a try because whatever we've been doing for the last 40 years isn't working...do I hear an AMEN ?
Tara January 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Scotty, I'm going to agree to disagree with you. 24 hour pay is not the way. That will surely drive business away from the village. As it is there are plenty of people who avoid dining and shopping in the village because of the paid parking and lack of spaces. I think your proposal will certainly free up spots, but I predict they will remain unoccupied.
Julian Mostel January 28, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I think it would be a good idea if the munimeters could be set so that you could push a button and get a slip for 15 minutes. What 15 free minutes? That's crazy! Yes, but it would let someone come into town and stop at the drugstore and go. Or get a cup of coffee. Or go to the library. Or pick up whatever. It just seems like it would make Nyack a more welcoming place. Could someone "feed the meter" every 15 minutes? Sure. But you've got to think, that's going to get pretty old after a few roundtrips. Might be worth a try. An alternative option would be to have 15 minute free parking zones.
Scotty January 28, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Is life that busy ...where someone can't put a dime in the munimeter and get a slip that allows you to "run in" and get a coffee, drop off books , etc. ? If I drive to Nyack...and need to just get something quick...I walk over to the machine, drop in a big 'ole quarter and do what I have to and there is zilch percent I get a ticket. What is the big deal people ! You can never get me to agree that we are in that much of a rush where we can't drop in a coin and avoid a ticket all the time. I remember my daughter asking me why I'm looking for change one day when I parked in town near the library. I told her we could get a ticket without a slip allowing us to park. She said "but we'd only be a minute" and I told her , "what's the big deal, this way we park without worrying about the big bad parking man and the town gets a big 'ole quarter" ! Sounds pretty simple to me. Or is it that the people who just "run in" are lazy and or cheap. You tell me.
Ronni Lederman January 28, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I would like to see quarterly parking permits that residents could pay a reasonable fee for if we wish, so that we who live here aren't inconvenienced for shopping in our own neighborhood. I don't think Nyack residents, (including south nyack and upper nyack ) should have to constantly feed meters
John Gromada January 29, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Let's be honest here: the after 11PM crowd contributes nothing to our community except for noise, crime, and bodily fluids on the sidewalks. Broken windows of stores are a regularly seen, assaults, injuries, murders... We residents get nothing good from anything that happens after 11PM, yet we have to pay for it all. We pay in taxes for police and the cleanup. We pay with decreased quality of life. We pay with the lives of our children who get sucked into this madness. We get no tax revenue from the bars- sales tax goes to the county, and it does not come back to us to deal with all the problems. If the late night scene in Nyack went away tomorrow, the village would be a far better place. If the proposed new parking regulations kill the late night scene, that would be a tremendous accomplishment- but frankly the late night scene would not be affected by this, except that the people who are responsible for the mess will be a paying a little more to clean it up.
Scotty January 29, 2012 at 04:54 AM
John....finally a comment that truly says it all ! So lets fine tune my idea about 24 hour pay for parking....make the 11pm to 7 am crowd pay the most. As you say...they are the ones hurting and affecting our town the most...make them pay. And maybe, just maybe the late night scene would be affected by this. Amen.
JC Brotherhood January 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM
With a new bridge coming and hundreds of out of town construction workers I'm think Nyack doesn't have enough bars, not nearly enough....
JC Brotherhood January 29, 2012 at 01:12 PM
But seriously, Its time Nyack (and the other River Villages) to really consider the advantages of "Home Rule". http://www.nyslocalgov.org/pdf/Strengthening_Home_Rule.pdf

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