One-Day Parking Experiment

Cold Spring mayor nets $3,000 at Mayor’s Park

Mayor Dave Merandy took on Cold Spring’s parking problem on Saturday (Oct. 24) with what he called “a little trial down at Mayor’s Park.” 

He explained the experiment at the Tuesday (Oct. 27) meeting of the Village Board.

Merandy said he had tickets and signs printed and, with the help of two paid village employees and two volunteers, offered parking for $20 per space along Fair Street next to Mayor’s Park and in the southern portion of the baseball outfield. 

The move seemed to resonate with drivers, who otherwise might have spent time circling in search of a spot. 

Merandy said that nearly 200 drivers paid to park, generating a profit for the village of about $3,000 after expenses.

He noted the board had briefly discussed the idea but that he didn’t get a resolution to approve it. “Hopefully the board isn’t really angry at me,” he said, adding that he understood that “some people might be upset.” (Reactions on Facebook were mixed, from praise for the mayor for raising revenue for the village to complaints the park should be reserved for residents.)

Merandy said he had not spoken to the police officer on duty that day to determine if the added parking had any effect on the rest of the village. He emphasized that the venture was a test and that public comment would be sought before the village opened Mayor’s Park regularly for parking. 

He described the 10 hours he spent at the park as exhausting. “It was nonstop,” Merandy said. Only one driver grumbled about the $20 cost and nearly all of those who parked headed toward Little Stony Point and Breakneck, he said.

During the meeting’s public comment period, resident Evan Hudson said High Street and the area near Tot’s Park were “under siege” with “wall-to-wall” parking problems; he asked the mayor to act even before the board re-establishes a parking committee.

Merandy said he had discussed the issue with the village attorney, who said it would be difficult to restrict parking on public streets.

3 thoughts on “One-Day Parking Experiment

  1. The biggest hurdle to relieving the parking congestion in Cold Spring is our common understanding — or misunderstanding — of effective solutions. Too many think the solution is to prohibit visitors or make their lives miserable so they won’t want to ever return. Parking restrictions on public streets are governed by state law, and efforts to deny spaces to non-residents are all a waste of time.

    Consider, instead, a two-phase solution: Step 1: put modern multi-space parking meters on Main Street and set rates high enough that you have a 15 percent vacancy rate, to create access to parking for customers. Step 2, ask the state for a waiver for residents to not have to pay for meters within residential zones on either side of Main Street. Then, and only then, extend the metered zone beyond Main. Set the rates in the ‘residential’ metered zone high enough to make room for residents, much as rates would be set high enough in the business district to make room for customers.

    Previous efforts to address our parking problems were muddled by a lack of clarity about this second step, including the need to build a coalition of villages and towns to persuade lawmakers to carve out an exception to state law — an enterprise that make take years. By the way, the village might net a few hundred thousand dollars annually while improving access to parking.

  2. It was risky for Cold Spring Mayor Dave Merandy to rent parking spots at Mayor’s Park without approval from the Village Board. But he did a nice job seizing the opportunity and collecting revenue for our small village. The state didn’t try to do anything to help out with the crowds of hikers, but our mayor did! Kudos, Mr. Mayor. [via Facebook]

    Falloon is a former mayor of Cold Spring.

  3. As a bonus, parking cars at Mayor’s Park is a solution to the pesky geese problem. [via Facebook]