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The cost of parking on the street or in garages in White Plains could soon be increasing.
The Common Council is currently reviewing several recommendations made by Commissioner of Parking Kevin Livingston who is contending the time is overdue for the city to raise parking rates, including extending metered parking in some areas of downtown from 9 p.m. to midnight.
“The proposed increases will support the current and deferred maintenance of the entire parking system as well as further the Parking Department’s strategy of: improving availability of parking spaces at high demand locations; improving use of off-street parking structures; and reducing incidents of garage parkers choosing not to pay the hourly meter rate in favor of a less costly elapsed time fine,” Livingston stated in a Nov. 22 memo to the council.
Livingston explained his rationale and proposed changes to the council during a special meeting Nov. 27. He is proposing that all non-permit parking increase by 25 cents, resulting in an hourly rate of $1.25 in the outlying areas and garages in the downtown, and an hourly rate of $1.50 per hour for on-street parking in the downtown.
The last time rates increased in the outlying areas was 2007, and in garages was 2013. On-street parking in the downtown hasn’t gone up since 2018.
“Think about inflation and how all of our costs have gone up,” Livingston said. “There’s a lot of money that needs to be invested back into the system.”
Meanwhile, Livingston is also calling for overtime violations in off-street parking structures to double from $10 to $20. The last time violations increased was in 2011.
“$10 is too low. People risk it day to day,” Livingston said. “Fines have to be enough to (encourage) people to want to pay.”
Mayor Thomas Roach was on board with the changes Livingston was asking for.
“It’s never fun to do this. There’s no easy answer to this stuff,” Roach said. “It’s not trying to stick anybody. You need differential between garages and streets. You need to manage parking. When you have garages you want people to park there.”
However, other councilmembers were not sold on the recommendations, questioning why the changes weren’t suggested during budget season.
“When you raise rates, people get upset, justifiably or not,” Councilwoman Victoria Presser said. “We need to show what we will be doing with that money. Why are we doing this now and not doing budget season in the spring?”
Presser and Councilwoman Nadine Hunt-Robinson said they would like to get feedback from the Business Improvement District (BID).
“One of the issues people have is the fear of getting a ticket,” Hunt-Robinson said. “People are willing to go to towns where there is less parking enforcement or free parking.”
Hunt-Robinson and Councilman Richard Payne noted they would not be in favor of expanding downtown enforcement hours from 9 p.m. to midnight.
“I certainly see what happens with double parking on Mamaroneck Avenue and East Post Road, but I don’t see how much extending it to midnight will discourage double parking,” Payne said.
BID Executive Director Jennifer Furioli said she would need to learn more about the changes and speak to local business owners before issuing a statement.
“It’s a complicated science because you’re dealing with human behavior,” she said of parking in general.
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