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December 19, 2013

Village trustees proposing only small parking changes

After considering public feedback, the village Board of Trustees will not make any major changes to on-street paid parking for the 2014 season. 

“On the whole, on-street paid parking, as far as the law goes, will really be unchanged,” Mayor Jeff Katz said.

The trustees are, however, recommending an increase to the price of all-day parking at Doubleday Field and a new system of issuing parking permits.

A January public hearing on the changes is likely to be set tonight at the trustees’ December meeting. The meeting was moved to tonight at 6:30 p.m because a quorum was in doubt for Dec. 23, the traditional fourth-Monday-of-the-month day for the Cooperstown trustee meetings.

The trustees held a special meeting on Dec. 11 in which they considered public feedback on the on-street paid parking system. Katz said he thought the trustees came into the meeting with open minds about making changes, but the more they talked, the more they wanted another year of data before they considered major changes.

“To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go,” Katz said. “We really did consider a lot of things. We considered making changes on cost of the permits, on the cost of the meters, on changing to two-hour length to four hours, of changing 15 minute (unpaid) parking spots to 30 minutes, on extending the paid parking to other streets or further up Main Street to the county (buildings) area.

“The overall sense, once we got into discussions, was let’s have a whole year where it works smoothly, since it did not work smoothly at the beginning, before we consider making major changes,” he said.

The rollout of the paid parking in May was marred with technical problems, including a start-up failure with the machines, confusion about signage and a system-wide shutdown suffered by the vending partner Parkeon that came on the heels of the start-up failures. In addition, two machines had to be moved to Doubleday Field after the older machines in use there failed.

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