Resident permits begin March 1, metered parking April 1

After years in the making, significant changes aimed at improving an often-stressful parking picture in Cold Spring are about to become a reality.

Permits that limit parking on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays to residents on 11 streets in the core of the village take effect on March 1. Metered parking on Main Street that will be in effect on the same days begins on April 1.

At the Wednesday (Feb. 7) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board, Trustee Eliza Starbuck said the plan addresses “egregious and longstanding” issues, including a shortage of resident parking, weekend traffic congestion on Main Street and revenue to cover the cost of an increasing number of visitors.

Residents within the parking plan area can apply through Village Hall for up to two permits per dwelling unit. The annual $50 cost per permit has been pro-rated for 2024 to $41.70. Application forms are available on the village website.

Metered parking on Main Street will cost $4 per hour for a maximum of three hours, with payment by credit/debit card through the ParkMobile phone app or at kiosks in front of Village Hall and near the corner of Main and Church streets.

The Wednesday meeting included comments and questions from residents.

Doug Price, who owns Doug’s Pretty Good Pub, questioned where employees will park, noting that in his section of Main Street about 20 workers require weekend spaces.

Mayor Kathleen Foley responded that all free parking areas, including The Boulevard, a block from Main St, will be available. State law requires 20 percent of parking spaces in the village to be free. The Metro-North lot also offers free weekend parking, she said.

When Price expressed concern that a female server would have to walk alone to The Boulevard at night, Foley said Cold Spring police could be called to provide an escort and that free spaces are also available at the end of each block at Main Street.

Ethan Timm and Rebeca Ramirez each suggested the $4 per hour Main Street parking fee is too high. Foley said the fee was determined after public hearings and that rates charged in four or five other municipalities were considered.

“We had to start somewhere; this is what the board decided and what the public process guided us to,” Starbuck said.

If paid parking is not heavily used in winter, seasonal pricing may make sense, she said. “But we need to see that happen first before making that decision.”

Timm also cautioned that the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail will direct weekend visitors to the Metro-North lot and that, over time, it could limit residents’ ability to park there when taking the train to the city.

Foley said the village has raised similar concerns and that she has “a lot of anxiety” about potentially heavy traffic to the Metro-North lot on streets not built to handle it. Fjord Trail officials have been asked to de-emphasize parking in Cold Spring for access to the trail, she said.

Teresa Lagerman questioned why residents have to contribute to parking revenue, describing the $50 resident permit fee as a “new tax.”

Starbuck said that fee helps recoup village expenses such as administration, purchasing stickers and installing signage. “There is a cost and it’s a service, like water or sewer that residents pay for,” she said. “And there are people who don’t need the parking sticker.”

Foley added that the village is going through a shift in its operation and governance. “For decades, infrastructure repairs and improvements were put off; water and sewer rates were really low,” she said, adding that everyone wants services and good quality of life but they come with a cost. “We have to have realistic conversations about costs and about administering them,” she said.

When a resident asked if metered parking would be resumed at Mayor’s Park, Foley said the area was heavily damaged in the July floods. If the damaged drainage system is replaced, the cost would be about $480,000, and more if improved, she said. The village would pay 20 percent of the cost with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) picking up the balance.

“We have some really important capital decisions to make,” Foley said. “It’s not a fast process; we’re probably not going to have the Mayor’s Park lot this summer.”

She said the goal of the parking plan is to raise revenue from Main Street while creating “some space” for residents on weekends when the village can be overwhelmed. “It will be a conversational process,” she said. “We’re absolutely going to need feedback.”

In other business…

■ Beginning Feb 20, Railroad Ave will become one-way from Depot Square, with no parking permitted along the southern end of the avenue. Locust Ridge, which has been one-way during certain periods, will now be one-way at all times. The changes were recently approved by the New York Department of State as part of updates to the Village Code.

■ Foley reported that the ground at Dockside Park remains too soft for the heavy equipment needed to remove debris left by recent flooding. A cleanup of smaller trash by village crews and volunteers is scheduled for Sunday (Feb. 11), pending the approval of volunteer waivers by New York State Parks, which owns the property.

■ Jeff Phillips Jr., the volunteer chief of the Cold Spring Fire Co., was hired as a laborer with the village Highway Department.

■ The village will enter an intermunicipal agreement with Putnam County for use of the county computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. The county will pay for the updated system in Cold Spring Police Department vehicles; the village will cover the cost of maintenance.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features

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2 Comments

  1. $4 per hour to park on Main Street and residents are to be charged $50 for a permit to park in front of their houses. Pay close attention, Beacon residents, and be afraid, be very afraid!

  2. While Cold Spring residents did not necessarily wish for the traffic that tourism has brought to our area, the blessing of the curse is that we have a viable Main Street as opposed to the shuttered storefronts in disrepair that plague most of the rural U.S., including upstate New York.

    In addition to being an idyllic, 19th-century village on the Hudson River with a tightly knit community and a commuter train line linked to New York City, we are adjacent to a state park that has some of the most magnificent views and hiking trails in America. We are blessed to live here.

    With or without the Fjord Trail, this village is no longer a secret. The burden of tourism on Cold Spring will only increase. The rational regulation of parking is one of the few tools we have for managing tourism while fairly balancing the interests of all those who love this village.

    Cold Spring’s parking plan is about to begin. Resident permits go into effect March 1, and meters will start operating on Main Street in April. The plan will address three longstanding complaints:

    (1) It will relieve the shortage of parking for residents near Main Street.
    (2) It will reduce traffic congestion on weekends. Once street parking in the central village is regulated, many visitors will learn not to come by car and hikers will bypass the village in favor of the regional parking lots.
    (3) It will generate funds to help the village cover the costs of managing tourism. Drivers who benefit from street parking will pay a fair price for the convenience.

    Thanks to input from villagers, the plan contains tweaks to make life easier for residents and to support business owners. The meters will not start till 10 a.m., allowing residents their morning coffee shop visits and early errands. The maximum stay on Main Street will be reduced from an overly long four hours to three (enough time for shopping and a restaurant meal but not enough for typical hikes). And unmetered, quick-stop parking spaces have been restored on Main Street.

    After a little experience with the parking plan, villagers will no doubt see ways of improving it. The trustees are committed to making it work well and look forward to your feedback. We hope everyone will give it the best shot at success by cooperating and parking considerately. We’ll see how it goes!

    Starbuck is a Cold Spring trustee.

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