The city plans to install payment kiosks in six municipal lots within the next few weeks. According to Mayor Steve Noble, the kiosks, in which parkers will have to put in 75 cents per hour, are expected to become active as early as September 1. Noble added parking passes, which will allow holders to park in the lots for just $10 per year are set to go on sale on the city’s website and by mail sometime next week.
The activation of the kiosks will mark the culmination of a controversial plan to end free parking in city owned lots which was included in Noble’s 2017 budget proposal and approved by the Common Council in December. The kiosks are set to go into city lots on North Front Street and Schwenk Drive Uptown, lots on Cornell and Prince Street downtown and the Dock Street lot on the Rondout. Noble and other supporters of the plan said that the fee for use plan would shift the cost of maintaining the lots from the city property tax payers at large to people-including many non-city residents who actually use them. Noble added that the bulk of the anticipated $175,000 in added revenue from the kiosks would go towards upgrading the lots and other elements of the city’s parking infrastructure.
Noble said that the city expected to take delivery of the kiosks on Aug. 11 and install them shortly thereafter. After that, Noble said, it would take several weeks for the city and technical staff from contractor Parkeon to configure the system. Noble said the earliest the kiosks would become active was Sept. 1.
Noble’s initial proposal was met with considerable pushback from residents and merchants, particularly Uptown, who worried that the new fees would hurt business and drive patrons to do their shopping elsewhere. In response, Noble said for the remainder of 2017, parking passes would be a nominal $10 and the question of how much annual passes would cost would be taken up later.
Noble said he was working on a single technical issue before adding a link to the city website that will allow users to order the passes online. Users will be asked to provide their license plate number and registration; once the form is completed online, the passes will be mailed to users. The forms will also be available at a self-service kiosk at City Hall and via snail mail.
While the revamp of the city’s parking system, which also included increased fees for curbside meters, a new parking app that allows users to replenish meters via smartphone and the creation of a parking commission goes into effect, Noble said he’s already looking ahead to next year. The city has scheduled a series of forums to allow area residents to give their input on parking issues before work begins on the 2018 budget and potential further changes. The forums are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at the LGBTQ Center of the Hudson Valley at 300 Wall Street and Thursday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 420 Broadway. A third forum is set for Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. at a downtown location to be determined.