Ticketed and Towed at Little Stony Point

Police say parked cars created hazard on 9D

By Michael Turton

A Yonkers family had a costly lesson on July 15 in the lack of parking along the corridor between Little Stony Point and Breakneck Ridge.

John and Sarah Coffey and their two daughters went for a two-hour afternoon hike after parking on the shoulder of Route 9D just north of the Little Stony Point Park. When they returned, their car was gone.

“At first we wondered if it had been stolen,” Sarah Coffey said.

In fact, the car had been ticketed by a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy and towed by Tow Time to its lot on Route 9 near Cold Spring. John Coffey took a taxi to the lot and paid $380 for the return of his Ford Edge, but only after Tow Time owner Bob Antenucci drove him to an ATM to get cash.

Even in April, weekend parking was at a premium near Little Stony Point Park. (File photo by M. Turton)

Antenucci said the policy is cash-only for reclaiming impounded vehicles because owners are usually upset and often stop payment as soon as they leave the lot if they’ve used a check or credit card. Antenucci also gave Coffey a copy of the parking ticket.

Residents have long complained about unsafe conditions, inadequate parking and a lack of enforcement along Route 9D between Cold Spring and Beacon.

“I can see that it’s not the safest place to park, but if parking is not allowed there should be signs,” said Sarah Coffey. “A ticket for a violation would be fair, but not the towing.”

Coffey also complained that numerous other cars were parked in the same area that afternoon but not ticketed or towed.

The issue was not a lack of signage, according to Antenucci, who said that when he arrived, the Coffey car was parked over the white line that marks the edge of the lane. He also said at least one other vehicle parked in the area was ticketed and towed that afternoon by another towing service.

Capt. William McNamara of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Antenucci’s account, writing in an email that, according to the ticket, “one side of the vehicle [was] about 2 to 3 feet over the white fog line, thus partially blocking the driving portion of the highway.”

McNamara confirmed that a second vehicle was ticketed and towed around the same time.

“I really don’t feel this is a fair way to treat people who come and spend money at local businesses,” Sarah Coffey said. “We have come here the last three weekends and we usually spend $150 on lunch plus shopping.”

Asked if they will fight the ticket, Coffey said, “I’d like to but my husband doesn’t want to,” adding that they will not likely visit again.

25 thoughts on “Ticketed and Towed at Little Stony Point

  1. It doesn’t matter if they spent $15,000 in our community. Being parked partially in the roadway and putting lives at risk doesn’t get negated because money was spent at local businesses. Where’s that logic? Thank you, law enforcement. We are grateful for your service!

    • The purpose is not safety — it is purely to collect revenue for the state. This is what cops do. Police officers serve and collect. I call them road pirates.

  2. Maybe it’s time we take a time-out with all the “I Love NY” nonsense until the state can get its act together with adequate parking and park police. It might help if the park police actually enforced the bans on swimming and littering at Little Stony Point, too.

  3. It’s about time they start to tow. Out-of-towners think they own everything and can do what they want. And what money do they spend in local businesses? They buy water and protein bars and leave garbage behind. Hurray for the sheriff department for a great job.

  4. Ticket every one of them. I went through last Sunday (July 16) and cars were backed in with their front ends in the roadway. Two cars couldn’t pass side-by-side. Some one is going to get killed.

  5. There shouldn’t be any parking allowed on the northbound side of Route 9D. It’s too dangerous. And now they are starting to park on Bear Mountain Bridge Road (the Goat Trail). Someone is going to be killed.

  6. It’s ridiculous trying to drive from Beacon to Cold Spring. They pull out recklessly and walk in the road. They should get tickets and start charging for parking! If they don’t like it, take the train.

  7. The parking lot designated for Little Stony Point is currently under construction, and there is not adequate parking for this or any hiking spots along the Route 9D corridor. So the ticketing and towing is ludicrous.

    We have these coveted hiking trails, but there are no spots for people to park. So either the town of Cold Spring or the county needs to invest in creating broader shoulders to accommodate the parking for the visitors of the trail ways. And the residents need to realize how many of the visitors patronize their restaurants and stores pre and post hikes.

    Create solutions to the problem, don’t burden people who are visiting, bringing in revenue and enjoying the beauty of our area, by ticketing and towing because of the shortcomings of the town and county.

    • I totally agree that we need to figure out a solution instead of just complaining about it week after week, year after year. The biggest problem is not the hikers, rather it is the response of our incompetent government officials from the state to the county to the town to the village.

      The crisis at Breakneck is not something new. All the mishaps we are reading about today were caused by the failure to address the situation years ago before it reached catastrophic proportions where people are actually dying on the trails.

      There is a complete lack of communication between all the branches of government. The sheriff doesn’t talk to the county executive, the county executive doesn’t talk to the state legislative reps, the town board doesn’t talk to the county people, the village board seems to take no responsibility and so it goes, year after year.

      Folks, this is why we pay taxes! The government is supposed to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. It is not up to private citizens to find a solution to this mess! Instead of attacking each other on social media, we should be going after our elected officials to demand that they do their jobs. I don’t see any of the politicians walking up and down Route 9D on the weekends to try and fix things. Maybe Sheriff Smith could take time out from his re-election campaigning and actually do something instead of putting innocent people in jail.

      But I digress. The issue is and will be for the foreseeable future, the hordes of people who (however inappropriately) show up every weekend to try and hike on Breakneck. Instead of trying to deal with them after they arrive and it’s too late, how about we try to head them off at the pass instead.

      What I mean is this: the reason Breakneck is so popular is because it has been endlessly publicized in the media, and all over the world for that matter, as being this fantastic tourist attraction. With that kind of publicity, highly effective, of course you can expect them to come here. Instead of encouraging the hordes from NYC and elsewhere to go hiking, we should be encouraging to go where they are wanted- namely Main Street, Cold Spring.

      We need to get the county, the state, the town, the village, every taxpayer-funded entity, to do a massive PR campaign to encourage people to shop Cold Spring. Our restaurants, shops and other business can easily handle the weekend traffic and it will generate much needed revenue for all of us including the county and state who reap the benefits of the sales tax we generate.

      Such an advertising campaign, if done professionally, could have a positive effect on both fronts: we could clear up the congestion on 9D and Breakneck and drive business to our local eateries and wonderful stores. Seems like a win-win situation to me.

  8. Just because the guy stated it wasn’t fair because “they come to spend money” makes it OK to break the law?

    Two to three feet over the fog line is dangerous for everybody else. We have a problem with traffic congestion and parking for the beaches and stores, etc. We have lots of shuttles for that reason. Parking issues will always plague resort or popular areas. Construction and upgrades make it worse. Best to obey the laws and be flexible to problems.

    Towns have to make these improvements to serve the resort or vacationing visitors. Visitors need to remember they are guests and the taxpayers are footing the bill. Even blatant traffic violations make the driver think they can get away from a ticket because they are on vacation and spending money. Crappy attitude to have. Many leave their brains at home. I am always more aware of laws when I go anyplace because it’s not my home and I don’t need to rack up tickets. Can’t always drive 600 miles to fight something.

    • There are no parking laws in this area. And it’s more congested because the designated parking lot is under construction.

      The guy is right, if the place is not allowed for parking, it should be clearly marked, and it is not.

    • There is nowhere to adequately park. It wasn’t just him. Most people park over the line because that’s the only place along the route. It’s why I suggested they enhance the shoulder. There is room to do so.

    • If there is no adequate place to park, you don’t get to make up your own rules. You just don’t park there. The Little Stony Point parking lot being under construction or the shoulder not being wide enough don’t have anything to do with it. We don’t need signage telling people their cars can’t be over the white line; drivers have a responsibility to know the laws of the state they are driving in. The right thing to do would have been to park at the train station or a municipal lot and take a cab.

  9. Shawn Beresford hit the nail on the head. I was born in Cold Spring and lived there for 20 years. Nobody knew these trails even existed until all the publicity and advertising about Cold Spring’s beauty. Parking is a real problem and always has been. I haven’t been to the area for many years, but please don’t tell me there is litter. That just breaks my heart and adds insult to injury.

  10. They need to pay to park and to hike. The Gunks had the same erosion, liter, and parking problems and they implemented parking/hiking fees.

  11. It’s erroneous to assert that there is no parking near the Breakneck Trails. There is safe parking, just not enough to accommodate their popularity. But if enough parking was built, all we’d have along the lovely 9D corridor is parking lots.

    What we have is a failure to properly manage the crowds. This is the purview of the state Department of Transportation, the DEC and the NY Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation that owns and manages the preserve. The Philipstown board worked tirelessly to get the DOT to build additional parking across from Little Stony Point, but it’s still not paved due to DOT delays, not foot dragging or neglect by any local officials, as some may assume.

    I’ve written letters and made calls to the Putnam Legislature, State Legislator Sandy Galef, the DEC, Scenic Hudson, the Hudson Highlands Land Trust and the NY/NJ Trail Conference pleading for help with the traffic/parking/pedestrian issues arising from the popularity of the Breakneck trails. It’s my belief that the future Fjord Trail will address most of the pedestrian safety problems, and possibly some of the parking issues too. However, careful planning (not to mention gathering the funds to pay for such a project) takes time and we need assistance now.

    It’s unfair to expect the 800 or so Cold Spring Village taxpayers to pony up the money to solve problems that aren’t even in their jurisdiction. Additionally, these taxpayers should not bear the sole burden of the impacts of ever-increasing tourism within the Village. Putnam County reaps huge financial rewards from the sales-tax revenue that Cold Spring tourism generates but shares none of it with those of us who must deal with the problems tourism brings. The state DEC and Putnam Legislature need to start doing their part to address these issues for good and all.

    I’m glad the sheriff’s deputies are beginning to patrol the area more, as well as ticket and tow vehicles that impede the safe flow of traffic. I hope they become a more consistent presence during busy weekends. It would be a good thing if they directed people away from Breakneck to other trails when parking areas are full. There are certainly plenty of other beautiful trails to hike around here.

    Thank you too, to the NYNJTC trail stewards for their presence and the guidance they offer to hikers. I hope they stay past Labor Day and into the even heavier trafficked “leaf peeping” season.

  12. The NYS Park administration needs to buckle down and take responsibility to provide adequate parking, in addition to the unfinished lot under construction. We had a similar problem over here in the Gunks on 44/55 a number of years ago, and the Mohonk Preserve went to great lengths to provide off street parking.

  13. Leave them alone. It’s part of living here. Thirty-nine years ago they did this protest, more people stopped walking the walkway. I take different routes.

  14. Finally! Sorry it was an expensive lesson for this family, but the law is the law and safety is safety. Non-negotiable.

    A lot of moving parts to the Breakneck problem and a lot of partial fixes and other proposals in the works, but the car/parking/safety concerns are fixable now with more enforcement of law already on the books.

    Bravo, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department! What about our friends to the north who have jurisdiction after the tunnel? Will Dutchess and Fishkill wake up to the fact that they also have an obligation to patrol, ticket and tow?

  15. Glad to see that they are enforcing the law and removing the cars that create unsafe conditions. While I agree they can make it clearer that there is no parking along certain stretches of the road, there is no excuse for leaving the car two- to three feet into the roadway (i.e., beyond the white fog line). I’ve seen accidents along this stretch of the road on many occasions. I’ve personally complained to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department about conditions and I’m happy to see that they’re taking action.

    Help is coming in the form of additional parking, a dedicated trail, and a new train platform at the Breakneck Ridge stop. Until then, we need to do everything we can to keep the area safe for motorists, bikers and hikers. That includes removing cars that create road hazards.

  16. People been parking there forever. Why now start? People are money-hungry theses day. It’s all about making that $.

  17. Why is it taking so long for the “almost completed” parking lot at Little Stony Point to be finished? It’s been way over a year that it’s been sitting there closed.

  18. Evan Thompson, Assistant Park Manager at Fahnestock State Park, told The Current via email today that a contractor began final preparations for upgrading the parking lot across from Little Stony Point about two weeks ago. Remaining work includes curbs and paving. If the weather cooperates the parking lot should be ready by month’s end. The project is being overseen by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.