Village Explores Parking Problems

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, a joint town and village committee that works to improve town and village safety conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, voted to endorse the Proposed Streetscape/Parking Plan For Village, a consensus proposal created by Village Trustees Ariana Basco and Sally Rhoads and members of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) and the Building Department.

Basco, who serves as the village board liaison to the committee, discussed the parking plan with them at their meeting on Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the New Paltz Community Center.

“We want more input from people who have been talking about this for along time,” Basco said.

Basco informed the committee that the plan, which has been in the works for about five months, started with the idea of closing Church Street to car traffic from Main Street to Academy Road to create a “pocket park” and pedestrian walkway. The idea is one of the proposed changes that could go into effect under the 2013 village budget.

“We kind of just wanted to reconfigure parking [in the Village],” Basco said.

The committee, whose prioritized sidewalk plan is mentioned in the document, offered its input to Basco and praised the plan for its comprehensive approach to solving street issues in the village.

“I thought overall it was wonderful,” committee member Alan Stout said about the plan.

The committee also suggested points for Basco’s consideration, such as increased police enforcement of biking rules in the village, and discussed a few issues highlighted by the plan including the need for sidewalks and curbing at the Citgo and Mobil gas stations on Main Street.

According to the preface, the long- range, comprehensive study is “an attempt to identify, address and resolve most identified parking/signage and other issues in the village from a community viewpoint,” and does not cover Planning Board parking requirements.

The plan also states that it incorporates recommendations from the 2006 Resource Systems Group (RSG) Parking Policy report.

Basco said the plan prioritizes proposals for three types of implementation: immediate, for the 2013 budget and longterm.

The proposals, which cover issues ranging from parking payment to village “walkability”  to safety, include changes in metered and decal parking, construction of sidewalks, review of street signage and installation of bicycle racks, among other ideas.

Much of the plan input came from the RSG report, members of the DBA and a critique of the plan by Village Planner Curt Lavalla and officials from Department of Public Works and Parking Enforcement. But Basco said she and other authors of the proposal also directly examined problems by walking village streets.

“There’s nothing like seeing it and really being in the streets,” she said.

Basco said she hopes to have a vote on the plan’s implementation at the Village Board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The plan is available for public
viewing online.