Kingston parking lot fees go into effect Oct. 10

The Schwenk Dr. parking lot. (Photo by Will Dendis)

Payment kiosks are set to go live in six municipal lots on Tuesday, Oct. 10. The activation of paid parking in city-owned lots on North Front Street, Schwenk Drive, Dock Street, Prince Street and Cornell Street marks the culmination of a contentious process that began last year when Mayor Steve Noble first proposed ending free parking for those lots.

Once the meters are activated, users will have to pay 75 cents per hour to park in the lots — 25 cents less than rates at curbside parking meters. The kiosks will accept coins, bills and, with a two-hour minimum, credit cards. Users can also pay or replenish their time using the “Whoosh!” app available online. “Whoosh!” users must pay for a minimum of two hours parking and are charged a 35-cent user fee for each transaction.

The new parking system will use a “pay by the plate” system where users simply enter their license plate numbers at the kiosk. Users receive a receipt for their payment, but do not have to return to their vehicles to display it. Handheld devices carried by city parking enforcement workers are automatically updated on which plate numbers have time remaining.

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Holders of annual parking permits are not required to feed the payment kiosk. The permits cost $10 and are good through Dec. 31, 2017. The permits can be purchased online at www.kingston-ny.gov/parking or by mail via a downloadable PDF form available at the same web address, or picked up in person at City Hall. Noble more than 400 parking permits have been purchased since they went on sale in August.

The permits, designed for regular users of the municipal lots, were introduced after residents and business owners complained that the lack of free parking would place an undue burden on people who must use the lots on a daily basis for work or because they live in the neighborhood.

Noble, who’s in the process of developing his proposed 2018 budget, said he expected the annual permits — whether to continue issuing them and, if so, how much to charge — be included in discussions between his administration, the Common Council and the public before the budget is finalized.

“I believe that there will be a conversation about where we go from here with the permits,” said Noble this week. “And I believe that conversation is going to end with us finding some common ground on the issue.”

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