Thursday, 28 March 2024 14:16

Seasonal Paid Parking Proposal: Public Hearing and Subsequent Vote Expected Tuesday April 2

A public hearing will take place April 2 regarding a new paid parking plan at Saratoga Springs City Hall on Broadway. A public hearing will take place April 2 regarding a new paid parking plan at Saratoga Springs City Hall on Broadway.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A summerlong paid parking plan, scaled back from the initial “tourism parking program” first floated late last year, will be presented during a 60-minute Public Hearing at City Hall this week. 

The Public Hearing will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, and a vote regarding the proposal is anticipated to be held during a meeting of the City Council later that same evening.    

The initial proposal pointed to converting more than 1,300 on-street and nearly 800 garage parking spaces into either “permit” or “paid” spots for a five-month run that was to start this May. 

Following a presentation in February to more than 50 people, most of whom were downtown business owners and managers, the plan’s title, its time period in effect, and the breadth of the proposal’s reach were rolled back in what the city reported as “streamlined adjustments in response to great stakeholder feedback.” Plans for on-street paid parking has also been altogether eliminated, with city streets continuing to offer free parking for both residents and visitors.

The new seasonal parking plan is proposed to run from Memorial Day to Labor Day and include both free permit and paid parking in city-owned garages and surface lots. Visitors can pay $2 an hour to park in the garages and surface lots. 

“As a government we must identify new revenue streams to offset the increased costs of city services, downtown investment, and the maintenance necessary to support our nationally celebrated downtown,” said Department of Public Works Commissioner Jason Golub.  “This streamlined parking approach will be less disruptive to implement and will allow for a measured approach of paid parking downtown.”

Additional amenities of the program include directional signage to assist visitors toward available parking in the garages and lots where they will have the option to pay via their mobile device or a nearby pay station. 

Permits

Residents and any downtown business employers can obtain free parking permits to park in the garages and surface lots for themselves or their employees. Registration will be provided with proof of residency via an online portal or with assistance from employees at City Hall. The permits will be linked to vehicle license plates. Ticket forgiveness will be provided to residents and employees if they park in a lot and were eligible for a permit but did not have one at the time of the violation.

Revenue and Expenses 

Forecasting the utilization of spaces at a conservative 33% (a figure well-below what was observed in studies), the anticipated seasonal revenue for 2024 is expected to be approximately $1.6 million. 

Expenses are estimated at about $450,000, which includes the costs associated with program administration, equipment for the installation of paystations and enforcement, contract attendants to work at the garages, and additional parking enforcement. 

The proposal envisions re-investment of revenue generated into Saratoga Springs’ downtown. 

This would include a dedicated marketing professional for the Downtown Business Association, capital reserves for the parking structures and downtown improvements, and funds allocated for the recreation department. The proposed re-investment will be $225,000 for downtown and $40,000 for recreation in year one and will be annual. 

Following the establishment of the seasonal program, a plan allowing school taxpayers in the Saratoga Springs City School District to park at a reduced rate permit may be optioned.   

“There have been a few business owners that expressed fair concerns about customers in surrounding towns facing a barrier due to parking fees. Once the program is set up, we’ll work toward creating a reduced rate permit for school district taxpayers,” Golub said. 

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