Parking Ban Coming on Route 9D

Also, art will roll through Cold Spring

By Michael Turton

Parking will soon be banned along Route 9D just north of Cold Spring, a move that should help alleviate hazardous conditions created by vehicles that park there during the peak hiking seasons. Mayor Dave Merandy reported at the Sept. 12 meeting of the Village Board that he and Philipstown Town Supervisor Richard Shea met with representatives of the state departments of transportation and parks, the state park police and Scenic Hudson and Hudson Highlands Land Trust to discuss the congestion.

The Department of Transportation agreed to install no-parking signs along the east side of Route 9D north from the newly completed Washburn Trail parking lot. Parking will also be prohibited along the west side of Route 9D from the Little Stony Point Park office to Fair Street in Cold Spring.

Except for landscaping, the state has completed upgrades to the 47-space Washburn parking lot, across from Little Stony Point Park. (Photo by M. Turton)

Merandy said Shea will contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office regarding enforcement because the park police have only eight officers who cover both Westchester and Putnam counties. He also noted that Cold Spring police officers can’t issue parking tickets beyond the village boundary, which is just south of Little Stony Point Park.

Transportation officials said the signs should be installed within three weeks, although Merandy commented, “I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

Merandy said plans for the proposed Hudson River Fjord Trail call for measures along 9D to slow traffic, including a possible reduction in the speed limit. The limit from just south of Beacon to Cold Spring is 55 mph, although it drops from the village to Bear Mountain Bridge to 40 mph.

Art below the tracks

On Nov. 4, Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of Italy’s most prominent Arte Povera artists, will transform the lower Main Street area of Cold Spring into a venue for his performance art. The event will celebrate the opening this past June of the Italian art space Magazzino on Route 9 in Philipstown.

Michelangelo Pistoletto (in white hat) will bring Walking Sculpture, shown here in Havana, to Cold Spring in November. (Galleria Continua Archive)

The November event will harken back to Pistoletto’s 1967 performance piece Sfera di giornali, in which he pushed a sphere fashioned from newspapers through the streets of Turin. In Cold Spring, he will create a 1-meter sphere from pages of The Current, The New York Times and The Putnam County News & Recorder that will be rolled across Market Street from Lunn Terrace to Main and the bandstand.

Magazzino’s Lithgow Osborne explained that the performance will underline the facility’s connection and commitment to Cold Spring and Philipstown while seeking to “create an engagement with the viewer and the artist by observing and moving the sphere as it passes by.”

In other business …

  • Officer-in-Charge Larry Burke of the Cold Spring Police Department reported that in August the department received 61 calls for service and issued 44 parking tickets and 33 moving violations. Four arrests were made, including of a patron who allegedly did not pay a restaurant bill. Burke also recommended that security cameras be installed at Mayor’s Park and outside Village Hall.
  • The Village of Nelsonville is initiating a traffic study to be conducted by Putnam County Highway Department and New York State Department of Transporation. Trustee Alan Potts said the results of the study will be shared with Cold Spring. It will focus on the volume and speed of traffic on Routes 9D and 301 in the two villages as well as Peekskill Road.
  • Superintendent of Water and Wastewater Greg Phillips said he was unhappy with the pace of work on repairs to the village dams. Phillips said he told the engineering firm, “We feel we have been placed on a back burner.”
  • The mayor and trustees applauded members of Build a Better World for their work in painting five recycling cans for the village. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade participants were William Denehy, Jasper Drake, Helena Kottman, Kylee Marino, Percy Parker, Dashiell Santelmann, Ian Starr, Nicholas Stahos and Aiden Sullivan-Hoch. Maureen Metzler-McGrath, the head of youth services at Butterfield Library and assistant counselors Anastasia Coope, Randall Chiera, Angela Fee, Mae McGrath, Nicole Mitchell and Mason Shipley organized the middle school day camp.
  • The Cold Spring riverfront will be the site of a Dance of Kindness on Nov 12. United Way will host the event in partnership with LifeVest as part of World Kindness Day.
  • Karen Doyle was appointed to the Code Update Committee at the board’s Sept. 5 meeting.

17 thoughts on “Parking Ban Coming on Route 9D

  1. It’s about time. That is great news. The hikers don’t contribute anything here, anyway, outside of endangering the rescuers because they don’t have brains to wear the right attire to hike.

    • I’ve hiked there since a child in Girls Scouts. We actually contribute to the businesses in Cold Spring every time. Too bad they haven’t started building the parking lots and it appears they have zero plan right now.

    • Why should the state foot the bill? I don’t want to bash on local hikers or the ones who actually know what they are doing. I do a lot of hunting, spend lots of money on gear and then go and spend more money on licensing, which is more than $100. And the state does have land for us to use — because we pay for it. I don’t think hikers come close to what we spend before we head out.

      • Even though the hikers are not the biggest spenders, when they make their way into the Village many of them do come back to shop after they realize how many great shops and eateries we have on Main Street. Nobody has done a survey that I know of, to get an idea of how many of the hikers end up in town.

        Regardless, removing 100,000 potential visitors from the equation is going to have an enormous effect on the Main Street businesses and not for the better. This is something that should be studied and talked about by all the stakeholders before the Powers that Be unilaterally decide to take such a draconian action.

        We have hundreds of environmental rules and regulations that are used to govern planning, zoning and development in our towns and villages including Environmental Impact Statements and SEQRA. Surely something as momentous as shutting down a tourist attraction that affects so many people would be subject to at least a hearing and public notice.

        It is outrageous that the Breakneck decision has been made in the back room somewhere with no transparency and with no call for public input and participation from those who will be affected.

        Of course the supervisors, bureaucrats, elected and unelected officials know that they can pretty much do whatever they want because the screen-addicted populace is too busy swiping and clicking to pay attention to what is going on around them.

        When the newer merchants, especially the ones who have the most invested in their shops, wake up and feel the effect this is going to have on Main Street and their bottom line, it will be too late. Then you see the proverbial weeping and gnashing of teeth as the money dries up not to be easily replaced.

    • Stupid people on any road do incredibly stupid speeds. Doing 80 on that road would be suicidal. That said, given that there’s really no legitimate “parking” other than a couple of pull-offs, there’s another way of looking at what should be a legitimate, reasonable speed limit. I believe that, in general, motorists should have an expectation of being able to use what is, after all, a road — made, after all, for motor vehicles — at a sensible speed dictated by the nature of the road. A 40 mph limit is not unreasonable. Of course, it’s nowhere near doable when contending with herds of hikers who apparently haven’t got a clue as to what a road is for. But the driving public that should have unfettered use of the road, mainly as a matter of normal course of business, are, instead, having their fair use limited to the benefit of a class of people who should have no expectations concerning a public roadway and are, in any case, reaping that benefit at the expense of right of reasonable use by others.

    • 55 miles an hour is more than safe on that road. Nobody should be allowed to park within 300 feet of either side of the tunnel, and nobody should be allowed to hike or walk on or in the same area. You can’t have every road from here to Bear Mountain be 30 miles an hour.

      I constantly see people walking in the wrong direction, biking on the wrong side of the road, allowing their pets to stray, and my favorite, opening the doors into on coming traffic. Speed is not the issue, it’s the lack of common sense or even a sense of trying to protect yourself from being hurt. Enjoy the woods and at least try to keep yourselves out of harmful situations.

  2. Good for you, Mayor Merandy! Make it more difficult for people to come to Cold Spring! Why don’t you just have the police turn people away as soon as the stop within the village limits? This way, over time, no one will come to Cold Spring, and Cold Spring will revert to what it was like in 1971, with the majority of the storefronts vacant.

    Way to go Merandy! You and the Village Board, keep the progress going!

    • Great comment and 100 percent spot on. Mayor Merandy, Supervisor Shea and the other government officials are throwing out the baby with the bath water instead of taking a more creative and nuanced approach to the problem which is the Breakneck hikers.

      It is a huge mistake to lump the regular tourists who come to the Village to spend money on shopping and dining and the people who come here to hike the mountain. The former make virtually no demands on public, taxpayer-funded services while the latter are often unprepared, often require not just regular, but emergency services, and for the most part are not big spenders.

      There is no good reason to shut down Breakneck indefinitely and lose whatever benefits we obtain from the tourists who end up coming over to the Village. The hiking season will be over soon enough. In the meantime, how about towing some cars and using the underutilized Cold Spring PD, sheriff deputies and other law enforcement personnel to do some crowd control? I don’t think it’s too much to ask for public employees to actually do their jobs once in awhile.

  3. I always find it very odd that people leave the city to come hike in an area that is also jammed with other people. Isn’t part of the lure of hiking to get away from other people? They may as well walk around Central Park.