Cold Spring Reveals Parking Plan

Cold Spring parking

The Cold Spring Parking Committee has recommended “virtual” meters for Main Street. (Photo by M. Turton)

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‘Virtual’ meters, resident permits among strategies

The Cold Spring Parking Committee on June 3 unveiled its proposed strategies for addressing a chronic shortage of spaces on and near Main Street, a problem that has become increasingly evident during the tourist season.

Key elements of the plan include residential parking permits, “virtual” metered parking and areas of free and reserved parking.

The strategy was outlined by Jack Goldstein, who is part of the six-member Parking Committee, at a Zoom meeting attended by more than 70 residents. Other committee members include Mayor Dave Merandy, Trustee Marie Early and residents Rebeca Ramirez, Evan Hudson and Dan Valentine.

The proposal, which must be approved by the Village Board, calls for a Residential Parking Permit district that includes 11 streets east of the railroad tracks and west of Morris Avenue, including Stone, Cross, Railroad, Garden, Church, High, Furnace, Rock, Haldane, Kemble and Northern. 

Permits would cost $10 annually and be in effect daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents with off-street parking would be eligible for one permit and those without for two.

A residential permit program was approved by New York State in 2015 but never implemented. (Main Street, zoned for business, was not included.) The area west of the railroad tracks has had permits since 2003.

Parking on Northern Avenue and Haldane Street would ensure the village meets a state requirement that 20 percent of the spaces within the residential district are available to visitors. The district contains 247 spaces, 49 of which will be available to visitors and 198 spaces for resident permits. 

Virtual metered parking would be implemented on Main Street from the traffic light to Depot Square on weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a rate of $2.50 per hour with a three-hour maximum. A small number of spaces would be metered on cross streets close to Main, as well as on a short section of Northern.

Metered parking was also proposed for the municipal lot on Fair Street and at Mayor’s Park, with rates from $1.25 to $3 per hour, depending on the day and time. No time limit would be enforced. A proposal for metered parking at the ball fields on Route 9D (Morris Avenue) in cooperation with the Haldane school district was shelved. 

Parking fees would be paid through a phone app created by ParkMobile or through a toll-free number. Cold Spring police officers would issue tickets. 

Free parking for visitors and workers in the village would be available at Depot Square, Metro-North, The Boulevard and Kemble Avenue. Part of the Highway Department lot is also being considered. Free spaces would likely also be occupied by visitors who can’t use the virtual parking system; by one estimate, as many as 30 percent of Americans don’t have a credit card.

The Parking Committee began meeting weekly in March with a goal to “reduce parking hassles” while increasing tourism-related revenue and reducing pollution.

While a number of residents at the Zoom meeting thanked the committee for working on what they acknowledged is a complex issue, some expressed their displeasure. 

Kaitlin Louvier, who works in a Main Street shop, complained that the proposal would “punish hourly employees” who will either have to pay for weekend parking or walk from more remote, free areas. 

“There will be inconveniences for some of us,” Goldstein responded. “But we’re trying to reduce them to an absolute minimum.” 

Bo Bell said he and others who live on Main Street were not considered in the plan, which would force them to choose between walking from free areas, paying or risking tickets. 

“I ask that you delay the entire program until you can make a more equitable and fairer program for all residents rather than just for those who live on the 11 streets,” Bell said. “Or that you implement only the meters or only the Residential Parking Program.” 

Parking has been a concern in central Cold Spring for many years, but the striking increase in visitors arriving by car in the past decade, most markedly during the COVID-19 pandemic, has created a chaotic situation on weekends.

Traffic jams, idling vehicles and a constant procession of vehicles circling in search of spaces have left drivers frustrated and angry and led to occasional altercations. Residents complain that the chaos has diminished their quality of life. 

“No matter what is adopted by the Village Board, there will have to be a testing period,” Goldstein said. “We won’t know how effective our recommendations are until they are put to the test for a reasonable period of time.” 

Early said the committee hopes to receive more feedback. It heard comments on June 3 and has scheduled another forum for June 24. After the Parking Committee submits its recommendations, the Village Board also must hold a public hearing.

In other business….

■ Village Accountant Michelle Ascolillo reported that the property tax rate remained flat for 2021-22, decreasing by .003 per $1,000 of assessed value. Taxes are due June 30 without penalty.

■ The Cold Spring Police Department responded to 47 calls for service in May and issued 13 traffic and 53 parking tickets. There were no arrests. The fire company responded to 13 calls, including a mountain rescue at Breakneck Ridge and two elevator rescues at the Metro-North platform.

■ The highway department collected 48.5 tons of garbage and 19.77 tons of recyclables.

6 thoughts on “Cold Spring Reveals Parking Plan

  1. If the village is looking for more parking spaces, why doesn’t it remove the no-parking Signs across from the Old VFW Hall since town employees are back working in the newly refurbished Town Hall?

  2. Everyone hates Cold Spring’s parking. We finally have a plan that can work, if we give it a chance.

    The Cold Spring Parking Committee has presented, with tact, transparency and humility, a solid proposal to improve parking. By relying on an app that visitors load to their phones, the proposal avoids the daunting capital expense of parking meters in the business district, while achieving the most important goal of meters, to make parking more available to everyone.

    Using a provision in New York’s laws governing residential permit parking and setting aside one-fifth of spaces within the permit zone for visitors, the plan should put an end to the horrible weekend congestion on residential streets on either side of Main Street. Free spaces would be set aside for business employees. The committee identified new parking areas at the village highway garage site and Mayor’s Park to augment the physical space for parking, without paving over paradise.

    There’s little financial risk. Relief could be here in a few weeks. Let’s give it a shot!

  3. If I am reading this right, residents will have to pay for a permit? That should be included in their taxes. Visitors should be paying. [via Facebook]

  4. I’m looking forward to paying $10 per year for a resident’s permit. I feel like I’m living in New York City, circling the streets for a space. [via Facebook]

  5. When the Cold Spring Parking Committee presented its proposal for simultaneous implementation of metered parking and residential permits, it said the goal was to “reduce parking hassles.” However, its plan will greatly increase hassles for Main Street residents, business owners and employees and others who visit Main street regularly.

    Speaking as a Main Street resident, we will be forced to pay for parking or to contend with tourists and others to park in dis-tant, free parking spots. This proposal is unfair and creates a parking caste system: privileged landowners on the side streets and dispossessed pay-to-park residents, employees and visitors on Main.

    I don’t want to complain without offering alternatives. Here are a few:

    ■ Anything implemented should only be in effect on weekends and holidays. There currently is no parking problem on an average weekday, only minor inconvenience at times. Village parking on weekdays is mostly free and easy.
    ■ Do not implement meters and residential permits at the same time. Does the village want revenue or improved quality of life for residents on the privileged streets? Pay-to-park people can use the side streets if there are meters or, if there are permits, we can continue to park on Main Street and use the Metro-North lot or other alternatives on the weekend. If both are implemented, there are a lot of people who will be dispossessed of usage of their vehicles.
    ■ The committee reported that 20 percent of spaces must be left free, but only 60 percent of the remaining spaces are needed for residences. If meters and permits must both be implemented, remove meters on all non-resident spaces on the side streets, move the resident spaces to the more distant areas and move the free spaces closer to Main to make it fair for everyone.
    ■ Delay part or all of this plan until application can be made and approved with New York State for Main Street (now a commercial district) to be included. Why wasn’t this done in the first place?
    ■ Re-create the Parking Committee with representation for all affected parties; none of the members who made these recommendations are Main Street residents.

    I hope that the board will consider how difficult these proposed changes will make life for many of us and amend them accordingly.

  6. If the village is looking for more parking spaces, why doesn’t it remove the “No Parking” signs across from the Old VFW Hall since town employees are back working in the newly refurbished Town Hall? [via Facebook]