By CLOEY CALLAHAN
Kimley Horn, a planning and design engineering firm, completed a parking study in the City of Newburgh that might lead to stricter enforcement, more meters and for longer hours, if the City decides to put its recommendations in place.
Brian Bartholomew and Michael Connor, consultants at Kimley Horn, collaborated on this study and shared its findings at the November 5 work session meeting.
The study included the downtown area, where there are 11 city-owned and operated parking lots, with a total of 907 spaces. Additionally, the study included 2,709 curbside spaces, with 667 of them being on-street metered spaces, 166 as marked spaces and 1,876 as unmarked spaces. The areas included both on the riverfront and on Broadway that fell under the City’s responsibility.
Part of the study was to see the parking occupancy, which was done in the beginning of August. It reported that of the 907 off-street parking spaces, 173 (19 percent) were occupied during the Friday peak period and 131 (14 percent) were occupied during the Saturday peak period. Looking at the 2,709 on-street spaces, 1,310 (48 percent) and 1,396 (51 percent) were occupied during the peak Friday and Saturday between 5 and 7 p.m., respectively.
“There are certain areas of stress either on a Friday during the peak hour or on a Saturday during that peak,” said Connor.
They also conducted a sample parking meter performance study. During the survey, it was discovered that only 387 of the 2,313 different vehicles that parked in metered spaces exceeded a two-hour parking duration, which is 16.7 percent of all metered parkers.
“The purpose there is to achieve turnover,” said Connor. “While it might not be a large number of vehicles, they consume a lot of time. A vehicle that stays for eight hours, displaces four other vehicles that might have come throughout the day.”
Parking beyond the posted time limit is not one of the city’s five most issued citations, despite 16.7 percent of all metered parkers exceeding the two hour posted time limit over the two day survey.
Bartholomew said that they recommend the posted parking time limits are more strongly enforced and on an hourly basis.
The firm also touched on the issue with the meters outdated technology. One resident Marie Sennett said that she’s “never had a meter that worked.”
There are 718 older, single space dual-headed meters in Newburgh that have exceeded their useful life cycle of ten years. They also are not credit card capable. They suggested Newburgh adopt a single-space smart meter system.
Additionally, they looked at the fees that go along with street parking.
“Based on our analysis, Newburgh’s parking rates are somewhat in line with others, but on the very low end of the scale,” said Bartholomew.
Poughkeepsie charges 25 cents per 15 minutes, while Newburgh charges 25 cents per half hour.
They also recommended that parking is enforced on the waterfront area from Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Councilmembers suggested it be extended even longer to 12 a.m. midnight.
Councilwoman Ramona Monteverde was interested in how much revenue this would bring the city.
“I know there is tremendous opportunity for the revenue that we could collect on these parking areas we have in the city,” said Monteverde. “We need to look at how we can enforce it. We miss out on a lot of revenue.”
She also suggested residential parking permits in highly dense areas where they pay a yearly fee for a spot instead of metered parking.
Councilwoman and Broadway business owner Patricia Sofokles expressed her concern for outdated parking signage.
“If you look at Citizens Bank two doors up for me, they’ve been closed for two years,” said Sofokles. “There’s five potential parking places there that have never been used for the 25 years I’ve been on Broadway. I’ve always questioned that.”
The next step would be for the city to issue a Request for Proposal to extend and revamp its parking meter program.