Village of Roslyn agrees to some parking changes, will not yet replace meters

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Roslyn Chamber of Commerce president Steven Blank discusses suggesting for improving village parking Tuesday. (Photo by Teri West)

The Roslyn Board of Trustees agreed at its Tuesday meeting to some of the village parking improvements that the Chamber of Commerce requested, including changing the day that parking is free and loading zone hours.

It said parking can be free on Sunday instead of Monday and loading zones can become public parking after a certain hour.

The board also said it would be possible to create parking on Lumber Road for employees to use throughout the day and to ensure that employees are respectful to patrons, two other chamber requests.

“It’s in everybody’s interest to get the employees out of the meters in front feeding the meters and doing that because they’re taking spots where customers are going to come up,” said chamber President Steven Blank, who also owns this newspaper.

The board will not, however, replace parking meters yet, integrate mobile applications for parkers to pay with or limit how late paid parking hours extend.

The chamber’s parking committee had drafted a list of 11 recommendations, seeking to improve the experience for shoppers and diners in the village. The Board of Trustees reviewed them with a parking consultant.

The biggest point of contention at the meeting was meters requiring payments until 8 p.m.

Glenn Falcone, the owner of Gatsby’s Landing, a restaurant on Old Northern Boulevard, said that he has received letters from people saying they will not return to his business because the meters extend that late.

Roslyn is a restaurant-heavy village, said Mayor John Durkin. Parking is more essential in the evening, so the village will earn more meter revenue at that time, he said.

The village and chamber went back and forth about whether a few dollars for a meter actually deters people from visiting restaurants until chamber board member Linda Robinson said that the primary issue was people not realizing they have to pay until 8 p.m. and then getting stuck with parking tickets.

That could be resolved with improved signs, Durkin said.

The first two parking committee recommendations were to change the type of meters and to allow patrons to pay with mobile applications. The board’s primary issue with those suggestions was the expense of replacing meters, especially when they still have several years left in their lifespan.

The village’s meters are all currently functioning, but they require maintenance, said Sam Daliposki, the public works superintendent.

Meters have a seven-to-10-year lifespan, and it is best to replace them all at once, said Anthony Timber of Amano McGann, which sells parking technology.

The village could switch to a different system when it is time to replace the meters, the board said.

“Having a good maintenance routine to keep the meters in good working order would be a definite step forward,” Blank said.

“We agree with that,” Durkin responded.

Mobile apps would be a challenge because of the equipment required and the time it takes for enforcers to check whether the app-paid parking has expired, Daliposki said.

Enforcers also have to go license plate by license plate, he said.

“Right now they don’t have a thing that you can scan and say ‘pay or didn’t pay,’” Daliposki said. “It’s more time consuming.”

The chamber had also requested a grace period in which parkers wouldn’t be ticketed for expired parking for staying just a few minutes extra. That policy is already in place, Durkin said.

“If you have a ticket and its up at 5:00, your ticket really shouldn’t be until after 5:05, 5:06, 5:07, meaning we really make sure that people get time back to their cars and that kind of stuff,” Durkin said.

The suggestion to remind village parking employees to be respectful to customers was in part to remain competitive with online retail, Blank said.

“Shoppers have changed,” Blank said. “They expect to be treated better than maybe they once were because they can shop online and they can go to these other stores that are catered to them.”

One bad interaction with a code enforcer could deter someone from returning to shop in the village, he said.

Durkin agreed that employees contribute to the atmosphere of the downtown, which the village is proud of.

“We feel that the downtown itself is an intangible part of what makes Roslyn a great place to live, and we want to make sure it stays that way,” he said.

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