New Paltz ShopRite parking changes confound customers

Parking lot construction continues in the ShopRite Plaza in New Paltz. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

A long-awaited, much-needed improvement to the ShopRite parking lot in New Paltz will eventually result in an orderly lot like the one at Tops, but the transition has been anything but. A drive through right now involves navigating around high curb islands, inexplicable dead ends and striping which seems to bear little relationship to either. Once it’s complete — which should be before year’s end — the situation will be much clearer, but getting the needed paving done involves working around the needs of commercial tenants and the vagaries of the weather. Temporary markings on the pavement seem to be either overlooked or not taken seriously, adding to the tension experienced.

According to town building inspector Stacy Delarede, the vast expanse of unfettered pavement there reflects an older sensibility, as does the building itself. She calls it a “huge bumper-car lot.” It was in a desire by building owners to redo the facade and make some interior shifts in the ShopRite lot where Delarede saw an opportunity to get the situation fixed. The lot was not only dangerous due to its design, but due to its condition as well. That was enough for the building inspector to require Planning Board review for the changes, and from that resulted an overhaul to the parking lot.


The islands which seem quite high now won’t be as ominous once the asphalt is put in, but to do that before Thanksgiving would not be economically disastrous. Those islands will get landscaped come spring, and the new pavement will be striped in a way that fits in with those traffic-calming elements. No parking spots will be lost, but some rows will have spaces rotated 90 degrees from the current orientation.

One limiting factor is the building itself, which is iron and steel and costly to modify. It’s too close to the lot line to allow deliveries easily around back, and the new parking area includes space to turn trucks around, which could reduce how often one of them hits the building. Those turnarounds appear to be pointless dead-ends now, but once paved the markings will make their purpose clearer. Two other aisles near Route 299 also have only one outlet, but that’s a preexisting condition which just couldn’t be improved.

Residents taking to social media also wondered about how those islands would impact traffic and snow removal. Once the landscaping is in, Delarede doesn’t expect drivers to send their vehicles over the curbs, but inattentive drivers occasionally drive into local buildings as a matter of course.

The transition is certainly confusing, but Delarede thinks that it isn’t just the parking lot which is inciting online furor. Local roads “have been under construction since the spring,” with sewer work, a rail trail extension, bike shoulders, and other projects. “Every which way we’ve turned, there has been something causing delays. I think people are just frustrated,” and this project was actually one under local control, making it an easy target for commentary.

The current property owners acquired it since these plans were approved, and are beholden to the terms of that site plan amendment. Delarede said they are expecting to get the paving done before the asphalt plants close for the winter, but definitely after Thanksgiving.

There are 11 comments

  1. Chuck Pane

    What a waste of money time and effort. To put space wasting islands in an all ready crowed parking lot is silly. Should have been repaved and left as is. The dangers of a parking lot is not the layout its the drivers, best to just keep it well lit and clean.

  2. Al Dunn

    The parking lot improvements were much need however it is kind of like putting lipstick on a pig. Don’t get me wrong, I love Shop Rite but that store needs an overhaul. It is just way to small.

  3. Mike Mazzola

    Wait Stacy Delarede, until you are older and unfortunately qualify for a handicapped placard or licence. See how you like having half the only level handicapped parking spaces (2 of the 4) removed for some fancy curb landscaping to make it look better. “huge bumper-car lot.” ?????
    How stupid do you think we are?

  4. Joyce Kilmer

    I think I shall never see
    Anything as beautiful as a tree

    Who authorized the limbs butchering, which, in quicker than you can say “Mighty oaks from acorns grow..” will kill all those healthy trees? Indeed, all the juniper bushes went also, and all the mulch is piled up in a mound instead of in a ring fashion with a depressed center?
    Forget the parking lot, it falls off at such a steep decline, it never should have been paved in the first place. Even the DEC decimated its forest in front of its own building? Go figure.

  5. The Architect

    I think this is a huge missed opportunity to re-think the shopping complex. I would have done the following:

    Knock down the plaza extension; Re-furbish the Shop Rite; Build a new plaza extension
    that actually fronts directly on Main Street which achieves several things for a pedestrian friendly design. A new plaza building facing Main would put retail on the street, creating a
    desireable street-scape, you could even have outdoor seating if a new restaurant were to be included. New lighting, landscaping and scale. Then, on the site of the torn down portion would be the surface parking reassigned. This would also conceal vast stretches of surface parking from the view of Main St, which is one of the goals New Paltz claims it wants to see but can’t seem to achieve. The existing plaza is woefully outdated and hideously ugly. It looks cheap and frankly, trashy. A new building with a sidewalk focused exterior would have brought a sense of ‘downtown’ to what is now just a traditional, outdated plaza…

    New Paltz seems to spend a huge amount of time fighting, blocking and denying new, 21st Century development and then approving or totally ignoring all of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s outdated architecture and abandoned buildings that blight our main roads.

    What gives? It’s like there’s no real understanding of pedestrian flow, in-fill design and
    upgraded architecture that so many other towns the same size have embraced and thus find themselves thriving in ways New Paltz just can’t seem to envision or achieve.

  6. Jayne baumgartner

    Tops parking lot is a lot bigger and Shoprite ruined their lot now less parking places harder to get in and out forced to backup rather than pull out should have just repaved the lot and left it the way it was perhaps having a place for shopping carts would have been better

  7. Shop Rite Jobber

    The unintended consequence is that it makes drivers, pedestrians and unicyclists most cautious navigating now more than ever before. No more chics on cell-phones flooring it past strollers, seniors and semi bob-tails.
    Ironically, the drainage grill at the bottom of the parking lot to the left of the exit onto South Putt is still a problem. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men have not been able to solve it. Must be God’s will?
    Why shop rite doesn’t have a security cop to shoo fire-lane parkers away from the front of the Dollar Store and the Nail Salon, I’ll never know?

  8. ron stonitsch

    Whomever on the town board/village(?) gave approval for such a ridiculous configuration did no favor to Shoprite or its loyal customers!! Comment above is right on the stupid island and also the narrow midsections! Who is the architect for this concept??!! WTH! Love shoprite but ridiculous parking lot.

    1. Some Other Guy

      The Town Planning Board members are listed by name on the Town of New Paltz web-site, as well as the Zoning Board members and the Board of Assessment Review town employee members.

      Only Town Board and Town Planning Board meetings are broadcast on the television Public Access channel.

      Only Town Board, Town Planning Board and Town Zoning Board have lawyers in attendance.

      Check it out?

  9. ron stonitsch

    Who the ___ is the architect of this ridiculous configuration??! How did the Town approve or why did they allow such a silly set up?! 2 or more narrow bottleneck areas…islands that took away valuable spaces…Everyone should get ready for hikes to Shoprite from far away parking! UGH! Dopey!

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