Featured Story

Town Board to revise parking times in downtown area as part of strategic parking plan

Residents can expect to see some changes to downtown parking regulations in advance of the upcoming Town Square project that will reshape a significant portion of downtown.

Town officials discussed at Thursday’s work session the code revisions to implement the strategic parking plan and the efforts planned to notify the public with enough time before any enforcement begins.

“This was a long time coming,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said. “We’ve been working with the Parking District and we had several studies done over the years … Now we had to tweak some things with the coming of the Town Square and relook at what we had prior to that.”

He said the proposed changes came from downtown business owners, the town attorney’s office and the Community Development Agency.

“We hope we can get this implemented and then we can start enforcing the parking restrictions that are going to be downtown because right now they’re basically not because everything is all a mishmash,” Mr. Hubbard said.

Danielle Hurley, a deputy town attorney, said the first phase of the parking plan that was approved by the parking district committee deals only with Main Street from Osborn Avenue to Ostrander Avenue.

She said the few 30-minute parking spots would be removed and the two-hour parking spots would be revised to one hour. She said the goal is to “increase the flow of the downtown area so there can be more turnover for the stores and the shops.”

There will be two 15-minute spots added in front of where Cucina 25 is located on West Main Street and near where new retail stores will be located at the corner of McDermott Avenue and East Main Street.

Mr. Hubbard said the goal is to help the retail businesses there “that are kind of take-out establishments.”

The second phase would involve increasing the times where people can park in farther lots along the riverfront and municipal lots.

“That would encourage people to park for longer periods in those further lots,” Ms. Hurley said.

Dawn Thomas, the town’s community development administrator, said the goal of multiple phases is to not confuse people and in case any significant changes needed to be made after a public hearing, the entire hearing would not have to be redone.

Mr. Hubbard added that the parking district has allocated money for signs for when colored stalls for different time periods are implemented. Ms. Thomas said they will be conducting a meeting via Zoom this week with a company that does digital signs as well.

Mr. Hubbard said he would expect there to be a grace period once the changes are implemented before any enforcement begins. He pointed out it’s important that enforcement can be done, otherwise the changes are meaningless.

“To enforce timed parking stalls uses a little creativity on the police department,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to take manpower, but there are electronic ways now of doing it and we’re going to have to explore those.”

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said the town will make announcement and issue press releases to help raise awareness among the public once the changes are set to be implemented. There’s no firm date as of yet.

“We can get the word out very quickly,” she said.