Station Parking: Meters to Stay; Locals Guaranteed 1 Permit
Also: Palmer Avenue Streetscape Project Starting Up at Long Last?
by Judy Silberstein
(September 24, 2008) It was “democracy in action,”
said Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld as the Village Board voted on Monday, September
22 to retain the current parking permit system for Lot #3 at the train
station, as favored by 80% of respondents to a Larchmont Gazette poll.
Also on the board’s uncharacteristically short agenda
was: recognizing two Larchmont firefighters for their role in saving a
woman's life; and a vote to advance a slow-moving streetscape enhancement
project on Palmer Avenue.
Parking Process & Fees Nailed Down
In less than two weeks, more than 100 residents responded
to the parking poll, with the overwhelming majority favoring retention
of the current system in which drivers purchase an annual permit and pay
a daily rate at the meters in Lot #3, on the New York City-bound side
of the train station. (See: Poll: Parking
at Station - Keep the Meters or Just Use Permits?) Half of the respondents
left comments and an additional 20 emailed the board directly, most of
them voicing support for a meter approach.
A number of respondents identified themselves as “casual
users” of the lot, who would have lost out if the meters were scrapped
in favor of a “permit only” system. “To have meters
allows part-time commuters a benefit that makes living in our little town
a pleasure,” wrote “Morgan” in a comment that expressed
a common sentiment. “Jane” voiced the minority view, calling
the meters “a pain in the neck” because they “constantly
The board agreed to keep the meters, but implemented a number
of changes designed to improve the process and raise some additional revenue
to fund the eventual purchase of new meters.
Apply: For the 2009 parking season, all
Larchmont Village, Mamaroneck Town and Mamaroneck Village residents
will be assured an opportunity to purchase at least one Lot
#3 permit per household -- as long as they act before December 31.
Applications may be made in person or by mail, beginning in November
on a date to be announced shortly. Previously, there was a limit on
Wait List: The Village clerk will keep
a waiting list for individuals requesting a second permit for their
households. After January 1, the Village will monitor the lot to see
if there are sufficient open spaces to go to the waiting list.
Out-of-towners: (mostly from New Rochelle)
will still have to scramble to secure one of the 100 permits allotted
for them. These permits will be sold on a first-come first served basis
beginning in November.
The grand total of permits sold last year was 1029, reported
Eileen Finn, the Village clerk. Although there are only 300 spots in the
lot, on a typical work day there are a number of open spaces, according
to Trustee Richard Ward, who has been conducting informal surveys of parking
lot and bike rack use.
The new process will eliminate the dash to Village Hall
and long lines that Mamaroneck permit seekers endured under last year’s
system – except for out-of-towners.
Permit Fees Mostly Stable: The cost of Lot #3 permits
for local residents will remain the same as last year: $50 for Larchmont
Village residents; $100 for Town of Mamaroneck and Village of Mamaroneck
residents. Out-of-towners will pay $500 (up $50 from last year).
“We all recognize the economy is not what it was a year ago,”
said the mayor.
Meter Fees Up: However, the cost to feed the meter
will go up from $3.00 to $4.00 for a day of parking.
The additional dollars will go into a capital fund for a future replacement
of the machines with newer models. The board will be relying on Larchmont’s
Department of Public Works to keep the current machines functioning for
at least another year.
Lot #1: None of this applies to Lot #1, on the Stamford-bound
side of the train tracks. That lot is reserved for Larchmont Village
residents and will continue to run on a “permit-only” basis
with a maximum of 300 permits sold, one to a household, first-come first-served.
Applications will be taken by mail or in person, beginning in November.
The annual fee will remain at $550.
Once the permits become available, application forms will be posted
on the Larchmont Village website.
Palmer Avenue Streetscape Project Starting Up at Long Last?
On Monday night, the board voted to authorize $89,000 in spending on
a preliminary engineering study for new sidewalks, landscaping and other
improvements to the Palmer Avenue Business District - a project awarded
a $683,704 federal grant almost two years ago. (See: Larchmont
to Get $683K for Palmer Avenue Renovations.)
The grant, administered through the NY State Department of Transportation
(DOT), targets the blocks around the trains station, which on Palmer stretches
from Depot Way to West Avenue. “We haven’t had a chance to
talk about what else we want to do,” said Mayor Feld, but the board
has hoped to extend improvements farther along Palmer towards New Rochelle.
The ultimate plans will coordinate with a separate project that will
completely renovate the Palmer Avenue roadway that runs through Larchmont
Village. That renovation precedes a hand-off from Westchester to Larchmont
for future maintenance of the road, as agreed to by the board last year
when they accepted terms of the $2.55 million Legacy grant to fund improvements
in Flint Park. (See: VOL
Accepts Bids, Approves County Agreement on Flint Park.)
As noted by Trustee Anne McAndrews in her regular updates on the subject,
implementation of projects funded with federal and state grants can be
exceedingly slow. She has been communicating with the granting agency
and only this month got word that Larchmont can start making specific
“At long last, we’re in a position to begin putting out some
proposals for planning,” said Ms. McAndrews. The grant imposes a
design deadline of before November 2009. The work must be complete before
“I‘d love to get it done much sooner – hopefully by
next summer,” she said. But when she suggested this timetable to
the DOT, “they gasped.”
The spending authorized on Monday night will be bonded as part of a larger
bond issue to be discussed in the near future, said the mayor. The $89,000
will count as part of Larchmont’s required share of the project,
a total of $170,000. The combination of local and federal funding amounts
to a budget of at least $854,000 for improvements.
How much, if any, additional sums Larchmont can afford to expend on
upgrading the Palmer Avenue business district will be a topic of board
discussion in the coming months.