Is there or is there not enough parking in the village of Saugerties business district? Talk to residents, business owners or elected officials, and parking definitely is one of the major complaints you hear.
At this Monday night’s village board meeting, parking or the lack thereof was the subject of much discussion. Al Bruno of the Saugerties Area Transportation Council, which consists of residents from both the village and town, said he had been tasked by his group with looking at the parking issue.
Bruno has found a Kalamazoo-based company, Carl Walter Designs, that wants to send a crew to the village and conduct a $18,200 parking study. Bruno said the firm would look at the current number of parking spaces in the business district, examine at aerial photos, study building occupancy rates and future expansion plans, and add in attendance at the various festivals held in Saugerties. Based on this research, it would calculate the number of parking spaces the village should have.
The company has already submitted plans for two different parking garages, either of which could be sited in the village parking lot behind Mirabella’s Restaurant. Both plans propose a total of 200 more parking places. The village could choose which plan was the more suitable one.
Bruno did not give a cost for a parking garage. The company built the parking garages at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.
Bruno made it clear that a parking garage would be sited in the village’s historic district, and would have to comply with regulations. It could be no more than three stories tall, and it must not be able to be seen from Partition Street. No problem, responded the company.
Mayor William Murphy said he believes there is enough parking in the village. “It’s just that people don’t want to walk,” he said. “People believe that if they can’t park in front of where they want to go, then there is not enough parking.”
Buttressing his argument that there was enough parking, Murphy listed the parking area in the Cow Flop across from Cahill Elementary School on Main Street, the parking lot at Saint Mary of the Snow Church off Cedar Street, and the village lot behind the village hall at 43 Partition Street. Even during large events in the village there are few if any vehicles parked there, said Murphy and Parisian.
Alex Wade, who’s in charge of special projects for the village, laid out the parking lot behind Mirabella’s, where there are about 90 spots. Wade said the trustees might just want to add some signage in the downtown business district to let visitors know of these parking lots.
Maybe there just needs to be some changes in how cars park in the village, responded Bruno. At one time vehicles parked nose-in rather than parallel in the business district.
No final decision was made as to how to handle parking. The trustees said the discussions would continue.