Wednesday, April 26, 2023

On the Subject of Parking

The ad hoc committee tasked with acting on the recommendations of the recently completed parking study met for the first time yesterday. It appears from yesterday's meeting that Council president Tom DePietro intends to chair the committee himself, but it is not clear which councilmembers will be serving on the committee. Yesterday, in addition to DePietro, only Mohammed Rony (Second Ward) was physically present at the meeting. Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), Vicky Daskaloudi (Fifth Ward), and Margaret Morris (First Ward) participated in the meeting on Zoom.

The purpose of the meeting, as stated by DePietro, was to set an agenda for the committee. Several things were mentioned during the meeting: establishing a parking bureau to consolidate all parking issues in one place; channeling all revenue from parking back into parking investment; incentivizing parking in municipal lots; replacing parking meters with an electronic mobile payment system; reviving the trolley to reduce dependence on cars; establishing a permit policy to ensure that residents can park in proximity to their homes. 

During the discussion, Daskaloudi expressed concern that the City was losing money every day because of the current parking meters. Morris said she was less concerned about revenue from parking than she was about residents being able to park where they live. DePietro cited "West" Allen Street as "a tough place to park--the obvious one." He must have been referring to the stretch of Allen Street nearest Front Street, where residents compete for parking with patrons of the Half Moon. Linda Fenoff, who serves as secretary to the committee, reminded him that McKinstry Place also has serious parking issues, with residents having to compete with hospital workers for parking spaces.

It was decided that the committee would consult with Crystal Peck, counsel to the Council, about establishing a parking bureau and a resident permit system and with Jon Forster of Fishbeck, the group that did the parking study, about finding the funds to replace the onstreet parking meters with a QR system for collecting fees.


  1. It was already discussed and tabled several years ago about residents parking permits, especial around the Hospital, McKinstry Place and Rossman Ave. Myself and other residents wrote letters and attended council meetings about this. Things go round and round in circles, don't they. I commend the Committee for trying to do something but don't hold out much hope. Why don't we have alders and Mayor for 4 years instead of two?

  2. Yup, same stuff discussed every few years. A few years ago the rate for street parking meters doubled -- the idea was to incentive parking in the city parking lots where meter rates did not change and parking is free on the weekends. This was a failed effort and will certainly fail again, whatever is done. There is no map or mention of the city's 4 parking lots on the city's website. The surfaces of all 4 downtown lots are in HORRIBLE condition.
    It appears that the city no longer maintains the meters - the amount of stickers on most meters is obscene and an indication that someone or some department has just given up. Have you been to downtown Catskill lately? How come their meters are all clean and operating just fine and easy to read and not ancient and broken and full of stickers and graffiti?
    A trolley will do nothing to cut down on traffic and parked cars. It might attract more visitors, coming by car.
    Mobile electronic payment system? This is a truly horrible idea.
    Yes, we need a parking bureau with at least two administrative workers. Where is that department going to be located? City Hall has no space for another department.
    Continue to watch Tom D flail at trying to make any changes regarding parking improvements.

  3. The most concerning thing regarding parking, to me, is that no one who represents parking is ever at informal council meetings to tell the council and public what is going on with meters, how ticket issuing is going, just a general update and someone to answer questions. It's all kind of a mystery, which is precisely what allows shenanigans, graft, poor decisions and inefficiencies. We might have all of that, with no one to be accountable for any of it.