White Plains Mayor Proposes Off-Peak Parking Permit

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Mayor Tom Roach explains his proposal for a Residential Parking Permit at Tuesday's Common Council meeting.

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach has a plan he hopes will make parking in the city a little bit easier for city residents.

The mayor has proposed a Resident Parking Permit that will allow White Plains residents to park in most city parking garages during off-peak hours for a $75 yearly fee. After showing broad support for the measure at a Nov. 22 work session, the Common Council is likely to approve the new permit at either the December or the January monthly meeting.

“In addition to the cost savings for residents, I think that many people will use the permit for convenience,” Roach said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It encourages people to shop and dine in White Plains.”

The permit would allow residents to park at seven garages – all but the City Center Garage – between 6 p.m. and midnight during the week and from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Residential permit holders would have to park in the spots marked for permit parking, which are often empty in some city garages. In the library lot, residents with the permit could park anywhere.

“The other advantage, also, is the ability to shift demand for parking to the parking structures which are currently under-utilized,” Roach said.

Parking fees and fines have played a large role in balancing the city’s budget, as parking department revenues account for $21.4 million, or 14.7 percent, of the 2011-2012 budget. With the department’s costs coming in at $11.2 million, the department is more than a $10 million moneymaker for the city.

This comes at a price, though, as the city’s parking rules and enforcement have frustrated residents and visitors alike. In this year’s Common Council race, Republican candidates said aggressive ticketing was pushing shoppers away from White Plains, hurting local businesses and costing the city sales tax revenue.

Since it takes only 100 hours of paid parking – less than an hour every three days – for the parking permit to pay for itself, Roach’s proposal is likely to cost the city parking revenue. How significant the effect is remains to be seen.

“It’s very difficult to determine what the impact on revenue will be because we don’t know who’s going to buy them, or how many, or how often those people park today,” Roach said. “My feeling, and I think it’s shared by the council, is that if we’re going to make an adjustment in parking, if there is a loss of revenue, it’s going to the pockets of our residents, which is what we would intend.”

Roach said he would like to begin selling the permits before the holiday season.

 

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