Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SOME CREATIVE SUGGESTIONS FROM HAL....WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Some creative E Hartsdale Ave suggestions from Hal...what do you think?

Proposal #1
How about free Saturday parking in Hartsdale during the summer? Even as an experiment.

I'm sure that the Parking District has historic records of collections and ticketing on Saturdays.
I'm sure that the Parking District can estimate what the effect of losing this revenue would this to take effect.
I'm sure that this would be accompanied by a reduction in payroll without any ticketing administration being in place. Who wouldn't want not to have to come to work on a summer Saturday?

Assumptions:
1) many Hartsdale residents are away on summer weekends and parking revenue drops off anyway
2) the Parking District already allows or tolerates the loss of parking revenue from the cybermobile and farmer's market
3) that free parking would encourage those living within, say a mile, who would already be behind their steering wheel leaving to shop elsewhere (say at stores along Central Avenue with free parking) and might consider a stop in downtown were parking available without the threat of incurring a ticket
4) it would be a welcome gift to merchants
5) merchants would have to see this as a good things and NOT hog the parking for themselves, even to the extent of ratting each other out
6) it is an experiment for a limited period, belated recognition for flooding
7) designated free all-day parking areas would be provided for those taking the train or having visitors
8) it is economically feasible
9) the idea can be sold to both resident and apartment dweller alike, the town/parking district help those who help themselves

Proposal #2

Merchants being provided with permits for unlimited free parking in the least desirable parking areas. This would likely give them less reason to hog metered street parking.

Proposal #3
Selling single use parking "debit" cards or tokens as "units" to merchants in bulk at a discount or even at full face if the idea is tenable. In turn, merchants would give them to customers as shopping rewards. Bank and credit union could use them in promotions to open an account or buy a CD; retailers might award "x" tokens with each purchase totalling "y"; restaurants with the additional purchase of wine or dessert, health club with membership or renewal of membership... a token of appreciation from and in recognition of...

The beauty of this as a promotion is that it is not redeemable anywhere else and under the use it or lose it marketing doctrine, it practically insures that customers will return to Hartsdale and perhaps a return visit to their "host" just to take advantage of their free parking and maybe even repeat the cycle, purchase = parking

Proposal #3.1
The parking "units" above are numbered. A monthly drawing is held; the winning number gets a month free parking pass. This is not a lottery as the holders of these units did not pay for their entries.

Proposal #3.2
The parking units are sold to merchants at a premium to their equivalent parking value. The excess goes into a fund for downtown Hartsdale improvements. Such improvements to be chosen by the Parking District as the eyes and ears of downtown.

Proposal #3.4
Owners of vacant stores might purchase these units as an incentive to tenants who sign a lease. The tenants in turn would have a no-cost grand opening gift to those who visit the store.

These are just a few ideas I am throwing out. I have no investment in them one way or another.
Hal Samis

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hal your ideas are great but I do not think the Parking Authority will accept it.
Their main concern is money and the hell with the store keepers or the shoppers.
That area does need a good shot in the arm and your suggestions would do just that.

feiner needs to updae emails/blogsite said...

Hal you have some good ideas. How about another one including meters in the village to be in effect from 8AM - 6 PM instead of 8 PM. This would help all the restaurants in town.

Anonymous said...

Proposal 4, in order to effect any sensible changes: Petition the State to eliminate the entity of Hartsdale Parking District. The purpose for its creation decades ago no longer is necessary. Parking administration could simply become a town office within the PD or DPW, which would save residents money.

Anonymous said...

Right on 7:42
This authority is running this show just to fill their pockets.
There must be a way to consolidate this with some department in town.
We would be saving the money paid to the personnel in charge which must be a large amount.
When they want a raise they raise the fees to those that park in the facilities.
If this could be done go for it.

Anonymous said...

Hal you have come up with some great ideas.
I do hope that this present board takes all that you said and act upon it.
Good job/////////

Anonymous said...

The HPPD has loans. It can not be dissolved.

Anonymous said...

The HPPD does an excellent job at what it is charter mandates -- providing parking for commuters and merchants. Hal doesnt care -- he takes the bus. The station parking is very valuable. Lets not screw it up.

hal samis said...

Dear 9:10,

You can do better than that.
How would free parking only on Saturdays in the summer screw up the very valuable station parking. And any more so than the farmers market.

As for the other set of ideas, Hartsdale Avenue parking meters do not handle all day parking so they won't affect those who park cars at the train.

What is the yardstick for the statement that "the HPD does an excellent job"? I'm not agreeing or disagreeing; I just want to know what criteria were used to justify that praise. For all I know it might have been written by the Executive Director of the HPD.

As for the earlier comment that the HPD has outstanding debt and cannot be dissolved; that is not entirely correct. In the worse case scenario, the bonds could be paid off by the Town which would issue new bonds to replace them -- were the Parking District to become a Town department.

Of course, if it came to rest in the unincorporated budget, this might result in some grief for Ardsley residents.

To 5:50, thanks but no thanks. I considered other possibilities but you must remember that even though this would benefit local businesses: not only the restaurants but also the health club and the drugstore etc, the idea was not to harm the HPD while they are still an independent entity, they have bond debt service to meet as well as other reasonable expenses. Reducing meter income at a time when they are more likely to be producing revenue would have such an effect.


As may my proposals. I had included certain unposted assumptions in my email to the Town that included concern that the HPD would not be materially injured by any decline in revenue. If that would happen, then the Town cannot afford to make them whole whatever benefit to the business district that may be derived.

On the other hand, if the HPD was watching every quarter, they would not allow the cybermobile to park for free. The Library has a budget and they can afford to compensate the HPD for the lost meter revenue. Since the Library wants to and already acts as though it were an independent library district and the HPD already is, there is no reason (certainly not one found in their Charter) to make those that use and pay for the HPD's parking spaces subsidize the Library's free parking.

Wait, I am wrong. There is a reason. Howard Jacobs, the President of the Library Board of Trustees in married to Ruth Jacobs, one the HPD's Directors.

But, flash, what I have just thought of is to inquire under what agreement or arrangement does the HPD have control over the metered parking spaces which abut the Town sidewalks along East Hartsdale Avenue and Central Park Avenue. This is not real estate owned by the HPD. Something to follow up.

Perhaps the person who says the HPD does an excellent job has the answer to this question.

Anonymous said...

Just some thoughts.....

Regardless of what changes might take place in the way of free or other parking, unfortunately there will always have to be someone getting paid to enforce those new policies.

For example; Free parking on Saturdays. Time limits? Many people hop the train to the city on Saturday. How can it be controlled that they don't park in front of the bagel store and leave all day. Doing so would defeat the purpose of Hal's suggested plan. Saying when & where parking is permitted does mean people can be trusted to be on the honor system. The only way to not have an enforcement personal available in when all parking on a given day is free, like Sundays. Also, not only would enforcement have to be paid but meter revenue to the HPD is lost and ticket revenue to the town will be lost.


I'm not saying I don't like some of Hal's ideas, it's just that parking rules, new or otherwise, require enforcement. Lotteries? Obviously needs some kind of continued administration and monitoring. Nothing can really be cost free.

A Merchants parking permit costs $1.20 per day. How much cheaper can this get? Any good merchant would be wise to keep a cup of quarters on their counter to give to their costumers. At one time, many did!

As far a the Library cybermobile goes, clearly this bugs Hal. He has a point in that the Library doesn't pay for the parking space. So Hal, what's the alternative? Charge them? Banish them from EHA? What is the solution? The cybermobile is a wonderful service and it's presence on EHA shouldn't fall victim to rotten politics.

Last word; In my opinion the the Parking District is a service I've used for almost 2 decades as a commuter. I have no problems there. They do a great job with very little staff. I'm told the administration office runs with one full time and one part timer. The total staff is only about 6 or 7 people! I could be wrong but only by a person or two.

I would hate to see it get taken over by the town. I doubt it would be run as efficiently. I would hate to lose the cybermobile.

Anonymous said...

There is free parking on Saturdays, in the HPPD non-metered spots on the Pipeline. The spots right in front of the stores are in high demand (I frequently cant find a spot when I go to Bagels). If you want free parking go the pipeline spots and walk a little more.

Anonymous said...

I think the Cybermobile helps business and draws more people to EHA on saturdays.

ed krauss said...

Against my better judgement I attended a library board meeting last night... and my better judgement was right. It was as frustrating an experience as I've faced in a long time.

Although there was an agenda, and it was followed, nothing substantive was covered by the topics. Apparently the "treasurer" was absent, so dollars in the budget were not forthcoming. Although an item on the agenda called for "Answers to Questions," the pompous ass, George, in charge of taking care of this "crutial" item, didn't fully understand the questions, so the answers were tabled until a "group looksie" to determine what exactly the questioner had in mind. A section on Donations did not deal with what, where and how much donations were receiced but rather what to spend the donations on.

This arrogant group of dilettantes spoke freely and said nothing for the better part of an hour and a half. From their point of view, they have to answer to no one; can do as they please; can be profligate with taxpayer dollars because they are a protected board.

They allowed comments and questions (of course, no answers) at the beginning of the meeting. To them, this satisfies the "open meeting," aspect of whatever. Thereafter no matter what utter nonsense is discussed, visitors sit there in silence. While major dollar issues with the library construction project exist, including: where the money to complete the project, furnish the building and other small matters of this nature are before them, they waste their time talking about a parking policy and other rules (unspecified) for the building. Since the building does not belong to them, and someone should apprise them of this little matter, why are they wasting their time- oh, I forget, wasting time is a preprequisite for being a bonefide member of that board.

Since, it seems, once on the board, NO ONE can tell them what to do, the only way to change this kind of misguided culture is to change the makeup of the board. As currently constituted, inefficiency will run rampant. If this town is to have any control over $3-4 million in spending plus the bonds covering $19.8 million (to late to salvage) we either need a library district wherein the the board members are elected every "X" years, and the library budget is, like the school budget, voted on annually. Absent that, these "protected" board members will continue to spend recklessly on salaries which outstrip every other department in this town as well as their procedure of "promotion" in order to give someone a raise AFTER the budget is passed.

I realize firing the mottly lot is not possible, but taking command of the situation is in order. Not only the Town Board, who appoint the library board members should be pressured, but a ground swell for a "library district" coming from the electorate should be organized.

Last night proved to me that "we the people" can do something about unGodly tax increase. Let's start with the library board (affectionately known as a "department" of the town.

I am in no way advocating doing away with the library, or having a "library on the cheap," merely a sensible library run by people WHO HAVE TO ANSWER FOR THEIR ACTIONS.

time to pay rent said...

ed
this same group has taken the old town hall property that belongs to the entire town including the villages and not paid for it.

this is theft!
juettner the liasion from the town board to the library is once again asleep at the wheel.

paul- please have kolesar prepare a rent bill!

Anonymous said...

Dear 2:10

File a complaint with the NYS Comptrollers office. They will tell you that there is no provision for such a charge.

hal samis said...

Dear 6:57am,

I don't want to dismiss out of hand what you wrote because you obviously took some time to do but I do have some comments.

I thought I was clear about the cybermobile. The Library should pay. I'm only talking about an amount around $3,000; it's hard to figure because there is a new schedule, its continuation is uncertain and even if it remains in service, during summer it leaves Hartsdale early to service the Town pool. I don't understand your "rotten politics" statement; do you agree with my explanation of how the arrangement came to be?
And I don't see how losing the cybermobile (and I am a big fan)would be a result of whatever entity operated the HPD.

The Library can afford $3,000. They can find this chump change just by giving employees only one raise in a given year. Please dare me to prove that. It may well benefit the downtown area although the merchants generally do not support it because they would rather have the prime two meters and what could be a third (the space left empty in front to allow the vehicle to back in) available. What the Library and the HPD both refuse to do is park by one of the garages where the meters would be less used and a land line source of electricity would be available.

The point is that the cybermobile is an unincorporated expense and it is unfair to subsidize it just by raising fees to those whose fees support the HPD.

If there really are so many people inconsiderate people who would use free street parking vs free off street parking when they take the train on a saturday in the summer, then the experiment will fail. However, if your perception is wrong, then the experiment would also fail because of the expense of administration. The idea of the experiment was to minimalize the loss of revenue by eliminating the associated expenses. With this in mind, it would be better to gamble on all day parking hogs not being out in force during the experiment period.

And I wonder what the enforceable crime would be to overstay a time limit in a free parking space?

Guess what, managing the HPD is neither the highest paid Town job nor the most time consuming or one creating the most pressure. I suspect the additional administrative burdens could be handled without too much stress or the need to hire additional personnel.

Merchant parking at $1.20 per day can get $1.20 a day cheaper. Not all of the stores are run by a single owner/employee.

You have had a long run of trouble-free parking and I'm sure that there are many bringing a similar assurance. However, the idea behind the Town taking over the HPD is not because of complaints from commuters, or even merchants, but the hope that were the Town to run the show, that the Town could find ways around the HPD charter burden and expand its service so as to make the nearby residents just as happy as you.
***
And to Ed, as we attended the Library Board meeting together, I agree with most of your recitation.
However, this post is about Hartsdale parking and I'm ticketing you for parking in a reserved space.

Anonymous said...

No one who depends on commuter parking wants the town to take it over. The towns ability to screw things up is without par.

Anonymous said...

The cybermobile does not get charged because the library directors' wife is employed by the parking authority.
You know one can get away with anything if they have someone in high place.
The cybermobile should pay for taking over those spaces.
She has to make it look good for her husband that skrewed the residents with his stupid planning of the library.
Since the library will not be completed on time with all the furniture and what ever else is needed, the money to pay for parking at the moment is not available.
So to do her husband a favor there's a freebee in the parking of the cybermobile.

Anonymous said...

Ed Krauss as far as the library goes you are 100% right.the same goes foe Hal Samis.
We were taken over by a town board that wanted to teach the supervisor a lesson at the taxpayers expense.
The questions that you asked were never answered and never will.
They have all been given the blessing of the board to do what has to be done.
The library as you and I know will not meet the specs that were presented to us from the unset.
The person in charge has too much on his dish to oversee what was going on.
What was needed a good construction consultant to answer all the questions that were being asked .
Now it's too late. the library board is asking the town for more money because they have no furniture ,rugs and many more things.
This is not fair since everything was budgetted before hand.
If the Town Board agrees to give them the extra half a million
They should remember that their time on the board will be limited to this term or maybe they should be asked to resign.

Anonymous said...

Dear 1:55,

Ruth Jacobs is not employed by the HPPD. She serves on its board voluntarily. Howard Jacobs is not the library director. He is the president of the library Board of trustees.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Both are affiliated with the two departments the library and the parking authority right so one hand helps the other.
Enough said.

Anonymous said...

RUN HAL RUN!!!

GREENBURGH TOWN COUNCIL 2009