Monday, February 11, 2008

Town Bd to vote to create parking committee for E Hartsdale Ave

RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN BOARD
AUTHORIZING THE CREATION OF THE HARTSDALE PARKING
ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO STUDY AND ADDRESS CONCERNS
RELATING TO PARKING ON EAST HARTSDALE AVENUE
AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE TOWN BOARD
WHEREAS, the Town Board acknowledges that there is a lack of adequate parking along East Hartsdale Avenue and the surrounding vicinity which adversely affects residents, businesses and patrons; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board believes this development requires a study of the different alternatives that exist to address the parking problem;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board will create a committee, to be named the Hartsdale Parking Advisory Committee, to study and address concerns and alternatives relating to parking on East Hartsdale Avenue and make recommendations to the Town Board.
Submitted: February 11, 2008

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the job of the parking district?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what this committee expects to accomplish.

There are overnight parking permits available and people don't buy them. There is ample space at the Site C lot on Central Ave, people complain it's too far and they don't want to pay for it. Recently, 24 hour permits have greatly reduced waiting periods . I just checked. Site A has a 2 month wait. There is plenty of parking in this garage for those who come to shop EHA during the day. People are too lazy to walk around the corner and use it. Merchants can buy permits there but choose to park their cars on EHA and take up spaces that their customers want to use.

So what is the goal of the committee? Revisit the snow ordinance? That would be useful. It needs revisiting.

There is no other buildable space for parking and I don't see why the Town thinks we all should find more space and foot the bill to build more to support what is lacking in private living spaces on EHA. People buy apartments there knowing full well what their parking situation is like, then buy 2 cars and complain about parking.

The town has been fortunate in that we do have ample commuter parking available. Other Villages do not. We also allow for multiple commuter permits to be purchased for both husband & wife where other commuter parking facilities do not have to room to provide this. Despite what you believe, it's much cheaper to buy a permit here as well.

So, I think we should survey other city, towns and villages to see just how they accommodate their private citizens parking concerns when apartment buildings have no garage space. I'd like to see what they build, why they build it and who pays for it.

hal samis said...

Really, these anonymous comments came from unbiased, average citizens with no interest other than saving other citizens a lot of time and trouble.

Everything is hunky dory and there is nothing to be questioned or improvement to be made says the anonymous Parking district.

One would think that with such a happy face to wear, the executive director would have no qualms about signing in.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

While I am anon here, I am also just an average, unbiased, citizen. Surely, all is not " hunky dory", there is always room for improvement but I still question what the real goal is to forming this committee other then to bash the HPPD and its employees.

So much time is wasted on complaining about parking yet nothing is ever accomplished and any suggestions to help remedy gives rise to more complaints.

So, you don't care for all things HPPD. You've made that clear numerous times but why the personal attacks against the director?

What is your issue with parking and what is your recommended solution?

I have always looked towards reading your opinions and insights on this blog so, on this issue, what say you?

hal samis said...

Where are the personal attacks against the executive director?

Is "one would think that with such a happy face to wear, the executive director would have no qualms about signing in" an example of a personal attack?

This being the conclusion of "anon" an "unbiased citizen" who I expect is really associated with the HPD but is loathe to identify herself.

The specific issues for me, you know I neither own a car nor live along East Hartsdale Avenue, are few but they represent either a sense of entitlement to being a quasi public agency and one that has determined that they are built out and thus there is little remaining that can be done.

My first issue is the HPD refusal to charge the Library for its free cybermobile parking on Hartsdale Avenue by the train station. Obviously I am conflicted being somewhat dependant on cybermobile service but there is still the issue of why they are allowed this free parking. The hours of occupancy both during and the hours lost to maintain the empty spaces in advance of its occupancy represent neither a great burden upon a Library budget upwards of $3million nor conversely a major source of revenue for the District.
As such, it would have been a simple matter though just to charge the Library the $4000+/- fee and be done with it and avoid my "displeasure". The merchants would prefer to have the desirable "three spaces" used for parking by would-be customers, especially more needed when other station plaza spaces are lost to the operation of the farmer's market.

Since the District is wholly funded by those that pay for parking, the expenses to maintain the District are offset by these revenues. Presumably, the fees are established with a mind to meet these expenses (including bond debt service) which means that HPD has chosen to further burden their own customers by forcing them to subsidize the Library because free parking for the Library is results in these occupied spaces not bringing in the revenue that parking meters exist to capture.

The HPD is not chartered to make charitable contributions.

Now I'm not going to go into a lengthy online post alluding tp socialogy, anthropology and other disciplines but suffice it to state that residents do not like to walk and will circle parking lots and areas almost endlessly to procure the closest space.

The cybermobile spaces are the closest spaces. And this prime location has a further drawback in that it does not provide access to a land line for electric connection, forcing the cybermobile to run its generator for an extensive period of time -- Hartsdale is by visit the longest stop in hours.

So, it is to my frustration to see that the HPD continues to provide the Library with free parking when economics 101 teaches that there is no free lunch. And at a chosen location that is most hazardous to the continued health of the vehicle itself. Even harmful cigarettes are taxed.

One way to solve both issues is to relocate the cybermobile to a parking garage where electric power can be provided -- this cost also billed to the Library. Patrons will soon learn where the cybermobile has been sent.

Why is the HPD so generous? Forget the downtown Hartsdale PR nonsense. It does so because one of the Trustees of the HPD, Ruth Jacobs, is the wife of Howard Jacobs, President of the Library Trustees. There is no quid pro quo, just a payoff perhaps for domestic harmony. The HPD has no basis to provide free parking, and even if it did, it should not.
Since its customers are a diverse and widely strewn lot, some even not unincorporated residents, they have no representation and thus having a committee might perhaps be a mechanism to safeguard customer/resident.taxpayer interests in the midst of a scam to sustain favoritism.

That the HPD refuses to comply with its own mandate and as a result is overcharging its customers to make up for this electively uncollected revenue (even the "chump" change involved) is representative of larger issues which their customers have and thus a "committee" will provide the mandate to pursue these issues despite HPD assurances that all is well and nothing untoward is going on.

A second issue for me is the random manner in which parking meters were sited along East Hartsdale Avenue in front of the apartment buildings. There are a large number of "Xed out" spaces being called "unloading zones or pick-up" but some of these spaces are too small for cars, some bear no relationship to building entrances, some are wasteful and could easily be metered thus adding to the number of spaces for the "convenience" of the full-time residents.

Whereas the Police Department assures me that these spaces are provided to prevent double-parking for drop-offs and pick-up and thus result in a traffic back-up, the sad reality is that many of the Xed spaces are too small, requiring deft steering wheel operation and a considerable delay for those drivers behind waiting for the offending car, van or paratransit bus getting in or out to be concluded.

Thus, insufficient sizing of these Xed spaces actually creates traffic back-up and while being unmetered they produce no revenue.
In my humble estimation, I suspect another 10-12 spaces could be culled were the existing meters relocated and some of Xed spaces eliminated or repositioned to some intelligent, thought-out spacing plan. Whereas there may be some expense incurred in moving meters, their random placement should never have occurred from the beginning and given the complaints about parking from residents, the HPD should have come to this conclusion on their own.

Thirdly since anon solicited such, I would argue that the fees for the "distant" (hey I'm a walker so don't expect me to agree with your customers but they are your customers) parking site and the closest should not be uniform. Since you maintain that there is parking adequate for all and thus no one need be left out, then create a tiered parking fee scale to make the less desirable spaces (uppper levels and farthest away) the least expensive while the lower levels and closest sites be more expensive. In theaters, orchestra seating is more costly than the upper balcony. Whereas your mandated market has an absolute right to park, they do not have the right to park in what are perceived as the most desirable spaces.

Fourthly, since you complain that merchants monopolize street parking, then revise the rules so not to allow parking for more than a one hour period and triple the fine for violators; then add a severe penalty/surcharge to those vehicles which receive more than ? summons in a defined period. This will require vigorous enforcement but the "meter mr." is up to the task.

Whereas repeat offenders will no doubt counter by moving to another space after an hour, this will still create some mistakes on their part and their costly miscalculations should result in an educational process whereby they will learn to avail themselves of other parking opportunities.

But perhaps we need to hear from the executive director and not anon.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hal,

Awwwww. You've hurt my feelings! Just because I choose to be anon shouldn't give my comments any less validity than say, yours, and the other hundreds of anon's that post here and you happily respond to. Anon's provide you with a forum of which you participate in greatly.

AND although you claim to not have attacked the Director,*snort* we read you load & clear. It bothers you that I have difference of opinion from yours? Am I less worthy to post on this topic because I may have said something positive about the HPPD that you don't like?

Just because I've made remarks, which you deem too positive about the HPPD, you assume that I have an affiliation with it? Sorry to disapoint you but you're wrong. Why is it so shocking to you that I don't have a big problem with the HPPD? Most users are satisfied with the service they are provided with. I have a bigger problem with all the self serving whining going on on EHA regarding parking.

I agree that the HPPD, as generous as it appears, should not be giving free parking to the library for the reasons that you state. I also don't think that the HPPD should not be collecting the garbage along EHA as a favor to the Town nor should they be responsible to fix, hang, and store the Christmas wreaths for them. Why do they continue to make these costly, charitable contributions? Huh? I recall there was a video inspection of the drain pipes along EHA, paid for by the HPPD out of necessity due to lack of maintainence by the town, sent to the town, ignored; we are still paying for that debacle. Did the town reimburse the HPPD for costly, disregarded information?
So your only personal parking interest is with the Library right now. I have no problem with that but don't be getting all high & mighty just because my interests, opinions or comments don't suit you.

As for the X parking, it was my understanding that these spots are not for the reasons that you outlined, never to have a car parked in them, but to assist in efficient navigation to park in a legitimate spot, so as to not tie up traffic on the Ave. Who knows? Maybe we should hear from the director on an explanation.

There is "tiered" rates for permits. It cost more to park at site A than Site B as "A" is closer and is covered. As for a scale on different levels at "A", that's just plain silly. How much more or less would one have to be charged to find it motivating to use the garage?

As for merchants parking in metered spots, their punishment is less sales. 'Nuh said.

Sincerly,
Anon

hal samis said...

Dear Anon,

X'd parking spaces as parking navigation aids?
Then there would be parking space, X'd space, parking space, X'd space or even parking space, parking space, X'd space, parking space, parking space, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, pepsi.

Their function is for a vehicle to pull into to make a drop-off or a pick-up of either a delivery of goods or for a patient visiting a doctor and, laugh, not block traffic during the process. Perhaps you might want to view the physical inventory of X'd spaces. With this fixed in your mind, return to my earlier explanatory post for the larger picture.

As for free services performed by HPD, I would hope that these "salutory" efforts are utilization of existing personnel who have no other duties to perform yet are being paid on the clock. Otherwise, it would be similar to my grievance about the cybermobile and the HPD should politely refuse to undertake these functions.

I don't quite understand your comment that you don't think the HPD should not be collecting the garbage along EHA -- probably because of your deployment of the double negative. However, if they are and it not the Parks Department which performs this job (Parks, not DPW because they assume the role due to the presence of the railroad station plaza, park (De Santi(s)) and the parklet (Gold). Does the HPD really have so much staff that it picks up garbage as well, do they have trucks too, do you feel feverish and thus are babbling nonsense.

As for tiered parking fees, you reject this pricing for tiers but you discuss covered vs uncovered parking and since I have never had the pleasure of visiting your parking garage/pleasure dome's upper/roof/penthouse levels, are they uncovered also. Is there a trade-off between closer uncovered and farther uncovered. Is uncovered closer a better bargain than distant uncovered. Who knew that all along we had a Chinese menu at the HPD even when the Chinese restaurant was closed.

You seem to feel that shooting themselves in the foot is punishment enough for those merchants who choose to utilize the on street parking meters. Perhaps it is from shooting themselves in the foot that they feel the necessity to park close by their stores so they don't have to limp as far. On the other hand, I suggested a policy to illustrate a "take charge" attitude as opposed to the self-help clinic that the HPD is currently running with regard to eliminating the merchants hogging the street parking.

Now kids let's set the radio dial back to yesteryear when a familiar masked man and his faithful companion anonymous rode the alleyways and helped the town marshall out during the great flood. As I recall, there were allegations that the back-up of H20had something to do with the HPD parking garage construction project and that possibly their debris had blocked the system. I don't believe that there is closure yet from this possibility but it certainly would explain why HPD was "involved" with the video inpsection of the drain pipes -- not that they didn't enjoy playing the role of good samaritan but perhaps they also wanted to clear their good name with regard to uncleared drains.

Perhaps some of the "whining" along EHA is due to the resistance they encounter whenever their problems are dismissed by the simple answer: it ain't my job, if you are within walking distance...our Charter...One might even think that HPD is glad to have their hands tied by such a limiting Charter. Problem is that since the TOG is the guarantor for the HPD's bonds, those pesky EHA residents look to the Town for assistance just like upset residents in other parts of the town look to the management for curing their problems. The only difference is that specific to the HPD, HPD has been granted a monopoly to run parking, on street and off, for "downtown" Hartsdale and, as such, perhaps they tend to follow the Dummy's Guide to Monopolies and Cartels a little too rigidly. So if the TOG takes an interest in what's afoot at HPD, it is not without cause as much as you think that everything's ok at the ballet.

I have always said that I prefer a blog tolerating anonymous vs an empty blog without anonymous. However, using anonymous does allow one to fabricate, attack and commit all kinds of mayhem simply because they can't be held accountable.
On occasion, anonymous bloggers have committed the blog version of atrocities but I do enjoy the repartee even though I question the need to maintain a secret personna. Often those who say they fear using their own names because of being attacked online are they very persons committing the attacks.

In your case, you have done a great job in convincing me that you are not a member of the HPD because I don't believe that any of them would have so little firsthand knowledge as you have fashioned. This was not meant to be snide but merely to point out that some of your errors would seem to be the product of hearing or making explanations for others but not checking your assumptions first.

As for not tolerating your personal opinions to the extent that you view me as being high and mighty let me write that your only personal opinions seem to be that the creation of this committee is an unneeded action and that the residents of EHA should not be complaining if they can't park their two cars nearby. The misleading thing is your use of "we" as though you were HPD related and your cataloguing of parking availability. That said, I still don't "get" why you are so proactive in your defense of the HPD as an unbiased citizen and what threat will emerge from this non-regulatory committee.

It seems as though you were the publicist for the HPD and crying wolf even before the sheep left for pasture. Perhaps you should convince the one best suited to present the HPD's best face to make her appearance so we can hear it direct from the horse's mouth.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is hilarious! All this banter for a silly little town committee. As we know from the creation of so many other town committees, the creation (or not) of a parking committee would have no effect. This is especially true since Hartsdale Parking is a district separate from municipal government. It would be just as silly for the town to create a library committee or a school committee. But hey, if some people want to gather and call themselves a committee to talk about parking, why not.

Anonymous said...

The only difference between this particular parking committee and the parking committee on EHA that existed before the last election is that the prior committee was sanctioned by Feiner and this new committee will be sanctioned by the town board.

I am not on the HPPD board and I'm not its director. I am, however, a resident on EHA who tried to participate in the original committee. What I found was not a group that was interested in addressing the problem at hand. What I found instead was a group of EHA residents that was interested only in their own self-serving ideas, like the idiotic snow ordinance that the kid from the Journal News was pushing. This was a group that didn't want to hear from anyone else who might have had a different view or even a better idea.

This group seemed to think they were entitled to free parking at the town's expense. They seemed to think that Feiner would give it to them if only he and his team got elected. That's what this group turned out to be about.

So even though the group was told again and again that there was plenty of available space to park in the HPPD's garage for like $1 or $2 a night, the group not only didn't care to hear that, the group had no interest even in letting our neighbors know that such an option was available.

So they got their special snow ordinance passed, but it didn't work. The chief of police then called a meeting to ask the group if they had any other ideas. One member of the group said the town should build them a parking garage in the station plaza, but said it wasn't his job to figure out how to pay for it. Others said no, the town should just re-enact the snow rules that would allow them to park all winter on EHA except when it snows.

When it was pointed out how many problems were created for merchants, doctors and other professionals with offices on EHA, as well as for the police, the group didn't care. That wasn't their problem they said, it wasn't up to them to figure out what to do, it was up to the town to deal with all that.

So now this wonderful group is being re-formed with the town board's blessing this time, instead of just Feiner's.

Maybe it will make the group feel better to have the town board's blessing, but it surely won't lead to anything constructive. All this group wants is free parking. Period. They won't even spring for a dollar or two a night.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned that Feiner's committe will somehow screw up the HPPD parking for comuters, which is extremely valuable to residents of unincorporated Greenburgh.

Talk about waste -- why does HPPD offfset 70,000 of police salary? Surely HPPD doesnt need a full time officer. What about hiring a meter maid? The commuter lots jsut need a pass through for permits, etc.

Hal, your idea of using "down time" is ridiculous. If there is down time, we should convert full time to part time personnel.

And the library isnt the only part of the town that should be looked at for waste.

Anonymous said...

And I might add to unincorporated Greenburgh, even if you do not use the station parking, it is a real plus when you go to sell your home.

But I guess Feiner doesnt care about us. The committe doesnt address commuters.

Anonymous said...

I believe the 70k police salary is for evening security of the lots where EHA residents are parked overnight and such. Commuters are not allowed to leave cars overnight. If so, this I wonder if fees collected from these EHA residents are enough to cover the extra security expense.

I agree with both 8:44 & 8:57. Nothing short of free parking will appease this committee and the #1 selling point to a home in TOG is the reasonable, accessible commuter parking. I don't want this committee to screw it up for the homeowners.

Anonymous said...

5:37,

The problem is Feiner responds to people who scream the loudest or contribute money to his campaigns. He has no concern that HPPD is by charter to provide parking for commuters and businesses. People bought apartments knowing how much parking it came with. I think the committee needs to conduct an education session with coops, apartment buildings, real estate agents to emphasize with them that any misrepresentations as to overnite parking year round will not be tolerated. Did anyone buy an apartment after being informed that on street parking year round was available? If so, they should tell the committee.

In bad weather (like today) there should not be overnite parking on EHA. The crews need access.

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz! said...

Where in the metro NY area does one buy an apartment and expect that parking is provided by that city or town? Where is there a street not subject to parking restrictions of any kind?

Who are these people? Surly, they weren't born on EHA. They come from Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn........

They accept harsh parking restrictions with huge punishable fines before they move here & then just loose their heads when they take up residence on EHA?

Do they complain to their co-op boards and demand that adequate parking be provided for them where none exists?

What a waste of time and another blogger got it right when said, "But hey, if some people want to gather and call themselves a committee to talk about parking, why not."

hal samis said...

Dear 8:57,

You read me wrong.

If the HPD does have idle staff, they should be replaced by part-time workers. However, I don't think this is the case.

My comment was in reply to anonymous who attributed a lot of volunteer work to the HPD that I find not to be true.

I believe that the Parks Department picks up garbage on EHA, not the HPD. Therefore the HPD does not have excess staff to handle garbage collection on EHA nor does the the HPD have trucks to assist with this function.

The things that anonymous writers come up with.

I believe that the video surveillance of the drains was not because the HPD was being a good samaritan but because they needed to find out if it was their construction debris that clogged up the drains.

So much for your well-intended comment.

I note that the discussion has moved on to attacking the residents of EHA presumably because of their relentless pursuit of parking -- something that is labeled by the acrimonious anonymous as seeking "free" parking.

Indeed?

And they should be denied the right to form and/or join a committee because their interests might conflict with the interests of those who live elsewhere but utilize the HPD commuter parking or, at least want to maintain their property values because it is thought that being able to park at the station is part of a home's selling price.

Does this remind anyone else of the range wars between the farmers and the cattlemen?

As the demographics of the apartment dwellers changes (renters or owners) over time, the older residents are replaced by younger (spelled two cars) ones, often those who move to EHA as their "starter" home. With savings growing, a family started, they are often the buyers of those homes elsewhere that have been put on the market. How to retain their interest in staying on in the Town vs moving elsewhere when their time comes to buy a home or a larger home. That is a problem, a problem which leads to the paradox: I have met the enemy and it is me.

At this stage, it is only about forming a committee. Obviously the HPD would not welcome this event because it is unlikely that this committee is being formed merely to mirror an attitude of contentment. But those fears are down the road.

In the meanwhile, methinks anonymous bloggers doth protest too much and have taken "only you can prevent forest fires" to heart a bit too literal.

Plenty of matches that are struck burn out causing no damage. Let's wait and see what happens. You've got the sequence all wrong: it is close cover before striking, not striking before the cover is in place.

Anonymous said...

You could have all the studies you want on the parking system in Hartsdale,it aint going any where.
These people ran it this way for years and they will not accept change.
The only thing that they will accept a yearly vote by the town council to raise the fees.

Anonymous said...

"And they should be denied the right to form and/or join a committee ...?"

No, of course not. However, they should recognize that such a committee would have no power whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Outside of the issue with the cybermobile, red X parking spaces and fees charged why wouldn't this committee address the lack of parking? Is it because there either isn't one or that the committee goal is to attack the HPPD?

There are issues that could be discussed that seen to never make it to the table such as the falling down Rockledge wall area. Has it been determined who is responsible for it?

I notices that a large boulder recently tumbled from the top of the wall. It seems like an accident waiting to happen as it is falling down and I'm surprised that a car hasn't slid off of it yet.

I hardly hear discussions on identifying real parking problems & addressing them logically. Mostly herd is a beef with the HPPD who does not have the authority to improve some of these conditions. Red X=police department, snow ordinance=town hall. Rocklegde=?

There appears to be two issues the disgruntled vehicle owners of EHA have. 1) lack of, not convenient enough, parking with viable alternatives not put into place. 2) overall disdain for the HPPD as if it has something to offer them that's being withheld for no good reason.

Are either of these true? I doubt it because we never hear specifically what 1 & 2 has to offer to solve parking complaints. So the committee, the complaining is questioned as to motivation.

I don't care how many committees are formed as I don't think it's an effective way to address issues but I question the intent of forming this one.

For those who think this committee should be formed to appear as if the concern is lack of parking but the intent is to question perceived improprieties at the HPPD, find a better option for expressing your concerns and spot waisting the time of those who truly want to improve parking.

mooooo said...

"herd is a beef" lol! I love it!

hal samis said...

You missed "waisting the time" two lines above.

I can spels, i is smart said...

Oh fun! Spelling police! :D

hal samis said...

Just as long as you aren't posting a feinting spell.

Anonymous said...

I think with Greenburgh's win over Bernstien we can and must now open up the HPPD parking for Village residents and Veterans park for Village residents.