By ASHLEY HELMS
Disgruntled drivers had an opportunity to let their voices be heard and, hopefully, steer the village towards parking solut-ions they think will work best.
In response to a parking n-e-eds study being conducted in the Village of Mamaroneck, re-sidents were invited to attend a forum in the village courtroom on Nov. 19 to make suggestions as to what parking solutions would be, in their opinion, best for residents as well as commuters.
In attendance were Mayor No-rman Rosenblum, a Repu-bl-ic-an, Assistant Village Ma-nager Daniel Sarnoff and Carrie Kr-asnow, vice president of Walker Parking Consultants, a company hired by the village to conduct the study.
Many residents who made co-mments at the podium were in support of better utilizing the parking that already exists as opposed to building new parking lots and structures.
Partnering with Walker, vill-age government is conducting a parking study to provide data on how many available spots exist in the village and how long they are occupied so strategies can be provided for how best to ensure parking opportunities in the village. The study is focusing on Mamaroneck Avenue and the nearby side streets.
Greg Sullivan, president of the Mamaroneck Chamber of C–ommerce and member of t-he Zoning Board of Appeals, w-as the first attendee to speak. While working at his office on Mamaroneck Avenue, he said the only time he has trouble finding a parking space is during the day because employees of stores on the avenue park in front of their stores.
“You could free up 15 to 20 spots every hour if merchants knew about permit parking off the avenue,” Sullivan said.
The Chamber of Commerce president said that motorists can park at the Mamaroneck train station, but need some sort of direction so they’ll know where there are available parking spaces. This course of action, he said, would be a better idea than building a completely new parking structure.
“The automatic parking facility that was discussed; I don’t know if it would be a good idea for this village,” Sullivan said.
Though he favors the parking study now, Rosenblum has favored the construction of a multi-tiered, mechanized parking structure behind the CVS on Mamaroneck Avenue.
Trustee Leon Potok, a De-mocrat, said that last year, the mayor brought up the idea of an automated garage to the Board of Trustees and indicated that members of the Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee of Parking, Parking Facilities and Programs suggested it.
But according to ad hoc committee documents obtained by The Mamaroneck Review in September, the committee did not prepare a detailed analysis of how an automated garage would serve the needs of the village, how much it would cost to build and what it would look like if built. The mayor requested information gathered by his committee be made available to all parties interviewed for the parking needs study request for proposal.
Krasnow said she is merely trying to gather data from the audience without any preconceived notions and isn’t working towards the conclusion of building an automated garage.
“I’m coming in here as a clean slate,” she said.
Michael Hynes, owner of Mo-lly Spillane’s on Mamaroneck Avenue, said he could help residents find parking spots any time of the week or weekend, including when there are shows at the Emelin Theater, a Board of Trustees meeting or a big event at Harbor Island Park. But, he said, the parking enforcement officers that distribute tickets for parking violations are quick to issue tickets.
“Building parking lots probably isn’t the best; there are 80,000 people in this village and probably 18 to 20 lots. I could show you open parking every day, every morning, every noon.” Hynes said. “For me, the $39,000 for the parking analysis is a waste of time.”
Rich Becker, a business owner on Mamaroneck Avenue, said visitors come into the village from other communities and have to circle Mamaroneck Avenue because there aren’t any signs that say parking is allowed in certain situations at Harbor Island Park or the train station.
“We have zero signage for people coming into Mamaroneck for the first time and we have no signage for the people who live here and just don’t see it,” Becker said.
But some residents weren’t as confident in the village’s ability to accommodate an ever-growing amount of motorists who need a spot to park.
Nancy Wasserman, a real estate broker in the village, said she doesn’t think the tiered parking lot across from Village Hall, located on Mt. Pleasant Road, is in the best shape to be utilized as a public parking area for all hours of the day.
Many of the parking spaces in the lot are designated for permit use only.
“I think we do need to think of the future. If people think it’s hard now, it’s only going to get worse,” Wasserman said. “It’s not just what’s happening today, it’s what’s going to happen.”
As the parking needs study continues, another forum will be held to unveil the recommendations and findings outlined by Walker Parking Consultants. The date has not yet been announced.