Is the City Council “inflicting another amateurish spectacle on the New Rochelle public” with Downtown Parking Plan?

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City Council - BID Parking.jpgIntroducing the legislation to change the downtown parking lots in New Rochelle to charge for 24 hours of metered parking, Councilman Albert Tarantino, sponsor of the resolution, said this “attempt to avert some problems there took almost as much time as the tattoo parlor legislation.” Councilman Louis Trangucci, however, was still concerned about these changes and felt the Council should soon reconsider this issue after George Rainone, Public Properties and Parking Manager, evaluated the new parking patterns. His most serious concern was whether the cars now parking free in the lots would park in the adjacent neighborhoods instead of buying parking permits. Charles Strome, City Manager and member of the BID (Business Improvement District) which had proposed the change, said evaluation would be an on-going process. Mayor Noam Bramson then suggested a date of July l for further discussion.

Councilman James Stowe wanted to know how this evaluation would be accomplished. Questions about how many permits might be issued and the city’s ability to accommodate them were brought up as well as the potential “hot spots” in downtown where more tickets might be written. Stowe persisted by asking what appeal process was available to the public. Rainone felt the public was “not shy” in giving their opinions. After Strome had said he would meet with the parking staff and police to determine how the effectiveness of this change can be measured, Stowe wanted Strome to come back to the City Council to possibly modify the proposal. Bramson wanted to monitor the residential streets to see any shift to free parking spaces. Councilman Barry Fertel who seconded this motion wanted to know if there was any data on whether people going to New Roc were parking for free in city lots. Rainone answered parking is sensitive to movie releases. A 6-0 vote in favor of the parking changes was taken. Mayor Bramson then said Councilman St. Paul, who was absent, was against the change. Bramson said he trusts the BID and wanted to give this paid parking plan “a try.”

After the meeting Strome reported that “staff members would be meeting internally to develop an implementation and monitoring plan for the new parking requirements.” Apparently no criteria for evaluation of the plan have been pre-determined by the City.

Reaction from residents was swift. George Imburgia felt, “The City Council made an unwise decision with respect to new parking regulations. There is no logic or common sense to do something which will force people who usually park in municipal lots for free onto the streets. This will create more hardships for the people who live and have homes here and are not fortunate enough to have driveways or garage spaces. If the City Council was smart they would rescind the decision that they made. Nick D’Arpino agreed with Imburgia.

Another resident of the southern part of the city, Elizabeth Lewin, said this is a “special neighborhood with two colleges, nursing homes, and all kinds of apartments, and all these generate cars overnight in this residential neighborhood. If you have a choice of paying for overnight parking or parking in a neighborhood, what do you think they will choose? There are also expenses of putting up new signs, parking machines where needed and to maintain and repair the present machines. All of these costs are passed onto the homeowners who get charged at both ends. I want to know why they are doing this. What do they expect to get from it? If the City had foresight it would have told Avalon that parking must be included with every apartment. The infrastructure of the city is such that you can’t bus it from one place to another and this is a big expense for residents.”

Lorraine Pierce felt the City should evaluate proposals thoroughly before a vote is taken. The parking problem in the downtown lots is being blamed on the two Avalon buildings, but Monroe College also adds to parking on nearby streets. I have seen Monroe College students park their cars on neighborhood streets and then walk up the streets to the college area.

Summing up feelings of a lot of people is Steve Mayo, a manufacturer and lawyer who has been mentioned as a candidate for District l0 on the Westchester County Board of Supervisors. He said, “If the City Council would start acting like a serious legislative body instead of a Dogpatch, Alabama traffic court, it might commission a comprehensive master plan instead of inflicting another amateurish spectacle on the New Rochelle public. Such a plan could offer guidance on all of our development and transportation concerns and not just zoning and urban planning. After a survey and study of retail and residential construction trends, traffic patterns, school enrollments and commercial activity, the council’s appointed planning consultants could recommend future locations for on- and off-street parking, stop lights and signs, traffic medians, public parkland, tree shading and bench seating, in addition to New Rochelle downtown’s new aesthetic/architectural “look.”

This is the twenty-first century. Why does the council majority continue to address New Rochelle’s real logistical issues with messy, ad hoc political “trials by ordeal” when it has so many proven tools of analysis and execution available to it? I can’t believe they haven’t figured this out yet. They aren’t stupid people.”

On pages 9—10 of the Westchester Herald, April 26, 2010

2 thoughts on “Is the City Council “inflicting another amateurish spectacle on the New Rochelle public” with Downtown Parking Plan?”

  1. downtown parking
    This is, frankly, not our finest hour! It is difficult to sum up the discussion and conclusions into any coherent format. I suppose Peggy Godfrey’s description of “amateurish spectacle” is as good as any.

    I suppose part of the issue is that parking is not a “sexy issue” It is a bread and butter issue; and really would be best served by a professional considerationn of basic supply and demand. People like Strome really concern me; he has mastered the “manana theory” — you know, we can solve any issues tomorrow; for now we can convert metered slots into permit slots, etc. etc… not recognizing of course how disingenuous that is for someone who is supposedly well versed in city planning. This leads to decidedly unhelpful outcomes like obfuscation and hyper optimism; actually, its more sticking your head in the sand and hoping it goes away until well, manana. And,, it doesn’t help when a councilman, Tarantino, mentions he has purchased 6 or 7 slots in the past and didn’t have a clue about how long they were good for. Al, looks like you had them for 24 hours at a clip; could of subletted I suppose.

    This is an example of what the Enlish call “making a meal” out of something — a skill politicians have in large measure. I see scant evidence of meaningful research into the here and now and no evidence of what the future might hold. They mention new developments like a CVS and 4 or so restaurants, but as far as parking, “manana.”

    Thie thing is — this is not rocket science. It is problem solving with a healthy dose of critical thinking based again, on supply and demand. Some variables you cannot control — i.e. how many vehicles per family or even commercial usage off-hours (restaurants, etc.) might require parking; although in the latter case, if little or none is available, no commercial enterprise as they close up shop. So you are left with x cars — thie variable x undergoes some changes during off hours defined by people working and businesses open and y spots. You take things at “worse case” a school year, for example, and recognize the reality of multiple cars per family, limited street parking, new business development, commercial needs based on many people driving to the commercial enterprise. In sum, you teach or train the BID to get off their theoretical butts and do hard research, extrapolation based on projected growth patterns, capture the loose ends (Lorraine Pierce has one that needs to be factored into the equation and you forego any STROMISMS. If I want to hear tomorrow, I will pull out my CD on Annie and listen to the song.

    Now I want crisp and clear thinking built around the economics of supply and demand. I don’t want to hear about trading meters for slots, or creating less expensive permit space for “poor folks”. I don’t want to hear about the inability to control non-taxing non profits for consuming available for profit commercial space. As one minister put it wisely and I paraphrase,”God can be found on a side street.” And, of course, I do not to think that these non paying entities can build residential highrises on prime property tax space and reap even more benefit.

    New Rochelle requires Economics 101 — supply and demand. If our supply is less than demand and even less than future demand — FACE UP TO IT NOW. It should not mean cutting out any taxpaying source, it should mean creating more parking — put money into high rise parking and do it now.

    warren gross

  2. Parking
    Who did the Bid talk to? They say many buisness owners came to them is there a list? The Bid said they talked to many buisness owners in the downtown it’s a fact that’s a lie. Ralph Dibart and his parking task force Albert Tarintino and Bob Kahn lied to city council and the residents and buisness owners in downtown. How is a city councilman on the bid board he should resign it’s a conflict of interest. Join the charge on city hall may 11 at 7:00pm speak out at citzens to heard tell the city and bid no to 24/7 parking. To all property owners in the bid maybe it’s time for change. Do you want to save on your tax bill say no to the bid a ballot is coming your way soon to disban the bid watch for it in may or June .

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