Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

November 29, 2012

Trustees move forward with paid parking plan

Board sets hearing on local law authorizing paid parking on Main and Pioneer streets

By JIM AUSTIN
Cooperstown Crier

---- — The board of trustees voted Monday night to set a public hearing on a local law that will authorize and lay out the framework for on-street paid parking in the downtown business district. The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, in the village meeting room.

Trustee Cynthia Falk chairs the streets and buildings committee and went over a revised recommendation from the committee following an earlier meeting with the economic sustainability committee and Police Chief Michael Covert.

The recommendation from the committee to institute on-street paid parking was driven largely by the 2012 infrastructure report form Lamont Engineers that said the village should be putting aside almost $900,000 per year to keep up with required street maintenance.

“The establishment of on-street paid parking in certain key areas provides a means for those who visit the village and use the roads to contribute to the cost of street upkeep,” the recommendation stated.

Other factors in the decision were the completion of the Gateway Project that will provide free all-day parking, the residential parking permit plan that will go the state legislature in January and the fact that if the Main Street project moves forward, the infrastructure required for paid parking should be included.

The paid parking proposal includes Main Street from River Street to Pine Boulevard and Pioneer Street from Lake Street to Church Street.

Much of the trustees’ discussion Monday night centered on time limits. Falk said they were aware that many visits to the Hall of Fame may take more than two hours.

Trustee Lynne Mebust said the two-hour limit was originally discussed as a way to encourage turnover of parking spaces.

“We want people to use the lots for all-day parking,” she said. “The goal of the parking system is to promote turnover.”

Mebust said she favored keeping the limit at two hours, but allowing motorists to purchase an additional two hours of parking time.

Trustee Dr. Walter Franck said he agreed with Mebust about the two-hour limit and that the purchase of additional time should be allowed.

“It can be tried for a year,” Mebust said, adding that the board learned a great deal during the first year of paid parking in the Doubleday Field parking lot.

Falk’s committee had concerns about the impact on village residents and recommended that both 15-minute and handicapped spaces be exempt from any parking fees.

The residential parking permit plan that will go before the legislature will not apply to the on-street paid parking area. The plan calls for the use of pay and display machines like those used in the Doubleday Field parking lot.

The committee also recommends the revenue generated by paid parking be earmarked for the streets reserve fund.

In other business following public hearings, the board approved revisions to the village sign law and amended vehicle and traffic regulations to prohibit parking on both sides of Estli Avenue from Main Street to the village line.