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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Perplexed about parking on Plattekill

For the first time since the Village of New Paltz metered the Plattekill parking lot, I had the occasion to actually use it.  I'm fortunate to live close enough to downtown not to need to drive.

I'm completely in support of getting people out of their cars, walking instead of driving, for tons of reasons.  However, whether it be due to lack of time, lack of motivation, lack of physical ability, or lack of a nearby place to walk from, people will continue to drive into the village on occasion, and need to park.  The lot on Plattekill does not meet this need.

Oh, it's got plenty of spaces.  I found one easily enough and then walked all the way back to the Plattekill entrance to pay - I could have saved a chunk of time by leaving through the lot on Main Street, but I didn't realize I didn't have to pay on Sunday.  Why?  Because the only sign announcing the days and hours of operation is on Plattekill.

Good thing I didn't have to pay, because I would have had to return to my car to display my proof in the window.  Must be really convenient for a mother carting around two children, or someone with an arthritic knee, or anyone else with mobility issues that do not rise to the level of a handicapped parking permit.

It's also charming that the unsuspecting out-of-towner who finds the lot by way of Main Street may never know that they have to pay to park. They would drive in through a private, free lot which is likely full and naturally proceed into what appears to be an extension of that same lot, only with spaces available.  Considering the Village Board's intent was to provide more parking for the customers of area businesses, I don't think a surprise parking ticket is the sort of welcome that warms the heart.

I'd have to review the amount of money they pulled in on parking tickets and other revenue since the lot opened to be sure, but I think the village's short-term parking goals aren't exactly aligned with the needs of the Downtown Business Association, visitors to New Paltz, or people who just aren't in a position to walk very far.

7 comments:

John Bligh said...

The Town should build an underground, state-of-the-art parking garage! Should cost about... oh... $50 Million or so. Let's put it to a vote! ;)

msinno said...

I find interesting that I once received a ticket for parking the wrong way against the wall that leads up to Oasis. Maybe I'm just missing it but I don't see any sign directing me to park in a specific direction.

Manysounds said...

Hey! Another blinding example of a plan that was never thought through and was forcibly pushed through the process for... who's benefit?

Brittany Turner said...

The VoNP priority to meter every available piece of pavement is BEYOND BIZZARE. They should auction off that machine and be done with it.

@Msinno - technically, you would have to be facing toward Oasis to park along the wall, as you would've been driving the wrong way into traffic in order to park there facing Plattekill. This is true of any parallel style parking, whether in a lot or on a street, metered or unmetered. Stupid rule, but still the rule.

msinno said...

@Brittany Turner - Good point, I'm usually coming from the opposite direction (Oasis lot -> Muni) and iirc that was how I parked. Just a symptom of my bad habits in being an ex-jersey driver. :-)

Maria said...

Silly jersey drivers ;)

I count on never finding a spot in New Paltz, and never having the quarters to pay for it. VoNP is definitely ticket happy. Wasn't the Mayor writing tickets at one point? Or some other elected official? I don't remember who, but I remember hearing gossip about it and thinking it was ridiculous.

There needs to be more signage in the parking lot to make it clear for visitors, and there needs to be a more effective way for the mother of two/handicapped person to get the proof of payment on their car.

Silly New Paltz and it's inefficient parking! Now parking on campus, that's a whole different can of worms...

anyway, check this out! : http://www.parkingday.org/

Martin McPhillips said...

I have never had a problem finding a parking spot in downtown New Paltz, not at the normal busiest times (the luncheon hours) or the abnormal busiest times (book fair weekends, Huguenot Street celebrations).

Have used the Plattekill lot probably once in the past five years.

The meters on upper Church St. have made finding a spot along there more likely.