Permission to Park

Cartoon by Julie Gunderson.

At the Oct. 8 New Paltz Village Board meeting, board trustees Ariana Basco and Sally Rhoads proposed the idea of requiring permits for cars to park on all residential village streets.

The proposed plan is meant to address what the trustees believe to be a lack of available street parking due to students unwilling to pay for campus parking, and subsequently parking for free on residential streets in close proximity to the college. As such, the permit decals will only be given to village residents, with a limit of two to three per household and provide the option of purchasing additional decals for $10. Business owners and residents voiced concern over the idea, saying that to implement the plan would give a “feeling of unwelcomeness” to the community and anyone visiting.

We at The New Paltz Oracle believe that non-resident parking on residential streets is not the true source of the lack of village parking but rather a lack of adequate parking necessary to accommodate the community at large.

It is no revelation that students are known to park on residential streets. Whether the reason be a desire to avoid the expense of campus parking or a parking spot’s convenient location to a classroom building if the student commutes, it is not as if problems with daytime parking are a new phenomenon. To attempt to mitigate this issue now seems belated. Going so far as to explicitly deny non-village residents parking will not solve anything, and as the residents themselves said, will make the community seem less welcoming.

This is especially true for visiting tourists, who help stimulate the village economy. Imposing unfriendly restrictions would be a severe detriment to store owners who flourish on tourist business.

We believe that the village should take the opposite approach, creating more communal lots or garages rather than limiting who can and cannot park in the village. We urge the village board to see how much these new parking spaces would cost and to see how they can find a way to make it work. We also believe that said development should be expedited before the issue grows beyond the resources available to the village to properly take action toward a solution.

Other options include updating the village parking meters to accept credit or debit cards, making it more accessible for parkers by eliminating coin operation and creating a less expensive option compared to a campus parking permit.

As New Paltz grows economically, so too will its population. Many residences have driveways that guarantee homeowners parking, making the argument for street parking permits seem unnecessary. The roads in the village are publicly utilized and parking on them should be treated similarly. The village needs to look to the future, and understand that as the central hub of the community in both business and culture, increased parking is and will be increasingly necessary. Giving the impression that any individuals be excluded from any part of the New Paltz community is something the village should avoid at all costs in keeping with New Paltz’s warm nature.