By ASHLEY HELMS
The debate over what the village should do about parking is long from over.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, and Trustee Leon Potok, a Democrat, have clashed once again over whether the village needs to contract out for a professional parking study‑an option the mayor favors‑or if the multi-space parking meters Potok supports would serve as all the parking study the village needs.
If conducted, the parking study will give the village data on how many available spots exist in the village and how long they are occupied so the Board of Trustees can address how best to provide better parking opportunities in the village. A request for proposals is currently out for the study to be done.
Potok said the advantages of installing multi-space meters now, rather than waiting for the results of a formal study, would include getting real time data on how many extra spaces are needed and at what times spaces are occupied, things the parking study is proposed to do.
Potok said the multi-space meters are more convenient as well because they accept credit cards and will bring in more revenue to the village because drivers must pay every time a car is parked. With single-space, coin-operated meters, if a driver pulls away with time left, another patron could get the rest of the time for free.
According to Potok, another advantage of multi-space meters is a lower operating rate as there will be fewer coins to pick up from the meter, meaning workers won’t have to make trips to clean out the meters as often.
“The village is better off; you get better data to understand the depths of the problem, and our residents and visitors will be able to park easier,” Potok said.
Mayor Rosenblum said that the multi-space meters can’t serve as a makeshift parking study. The village must wait for the results of a formal parking study to be conducted by professionals to determine where the multi-space meters should go and what effect they would have on the village; which are issues the meters alone cannot address, according to the mayor.
“The parking study will say how much parking we need, the different types and how to reach our goal,” Rosenblum said.
The mayor rejected Potok’s suggestion to put multi-space meters on Mamaroneck Avenue and keeping them active until 9 p.m. He said that would cost the village more in salary and benefits because workers will have to go out later in the evening to collect the money.
Although he favors the parking study now, Rosenblum has, in the past, favored the construction of a multi-tiered, mechanized parking structure behind the CVS on Mamaroneck Avenue.
In October 2012, The Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Parking, Parking Facilities and Programs gathered data the mayor felt indicated the need for a parking garage. Critics, including Potok, said the committee never meets in public and that there are no minutes from its meetings, but the mayor said results from the committee’s report will go public.
Potok said he has never seen a report from the committee except that Rosenblum said it recommended an automated garage.
“No report has ever been issued, except what the mayor says,” the trustee said.
The Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee wasn’t the only group in the village to come up with parking suggestions last year.
The volunteer Budget Committee, then chaired by Potok, recommended the village install multi-space parking meters along Mamaroneck Avenue and in the two lots under consideration as potential sites for the automated garage. Potok said this would not only give the village a much better idea of how the existing spaces are being used, it would help determine whether an automated garage is necessary.
Potok suspended the Budget Committee’s meetings in May 2012 when the Board of Trustees didn’t respond to its suggestions on parking, or anything else it studied with an eye toward increasing village revenue and administration financial and operational transparency.
As chairman of the Budget Committee, Potok estimated the costs of building and operating an automated parking structure would need to be balanced out by charging a fee of $7 per hour.
In October 2012, Rosenblum said his ad hoc committee estimated the cost of the automated garage at $18,000 to $22,000 per space with the developer paying to build the structure then splitting the revenue with the village.
It is not clear as to how many parking spaces would be included in the structure.
According to Rosenblum, the garage would also be considered a “green building” because, since mechanisms within the structure maneuver cars into place within it, cars won’t emit exhaust once they arrive at the lot. It’s also safe, because the garage automatically parks and delivers the vehicle to the driver.
“My goal is to keep the village as a destination,” Rosenblum said.