to Meter You
Central Avenue, poles for new parking meters stand like little
guards for each space from Lark Street to Ontario, awaiting
the installation of meters.
The new meters apparently are part of a citywide effort to
alleviate some of its parking and congestion pains. The plan
was passed by the Common Council at the behest of the Central
Business Improvement District.
only putting meters where businesses exist now, and where
it has typically always been posted one-and-one-half-hour
parking,” said Robert Schaffner, head of the Albany Parking
Authority, which installs and maintains the meters. “The police
department prefers this because the enforcement of the one-and-one-half-hour
parking is terribly inefficient.”
Parking meters usually are used to create greater turnover
of spots, and thereby generate more business. But much of
Central Avenue already has 90-minute parking restrictions
during business hours.
Schaffner estimates this has been in development for about
two years, in response to revitialized business activity.
“The need to make more space available for more customers
becomes an important ingredient,” he said.
Jason Ellis, who works at Brick’s Barber Shop on Central,
is worried that his patrons will be deterred by the extra
cost of parking, and will opt to go to the mall. “The only
people who are benefitting from these parking meters are downtown,”
said Ellis. His coworker Daiwan Perry also wonders where people
that work and own businesses on Central Avenue will park.
Perry feels that the meter “decision was made without consulting
the business owners.”
meters are too little, too late” for Rocky Roy, co-owner of
Music Shack. “Had this happened 15 years ago, maybe this would
have helped,” he said. Roy thinks that businesses, along with
residents, are being driven out by bad parking, in addition
to crime problems. Roy said he frequently has customers who
say they couldn’t find somewhere to park, so they had to go
elsewhere. He advocates creating new parking lots along the
avenue. Seven lots on or near Central Avenue are also getting
meters, though their rate is reduced.
The meters affect Central Avenue residents as well as businesses.
Though the meters are only for weekdays from 8 AM to 6 PM,
many residents do not work those hours. “One would hope that
you have parking behind your apartment,” responded Schaffner
regarding those residents. “If you didn’t have that, you could
park on Bradford Street on the South Side or Sherman Street
on the North Side.”
But residents feel that’s not workable. “I’ve had three tenants
from Central Avenue call me to tell me that they’re moving
out because they don’t want to deal with the meter situation,”
said R.A. DePrima, a Lark Street resident who owns property
on Central Avenue. “Instead of working more toward a [resident]
permit program, [Mayor Jerry Jennings] just seems hell-bent
on raising revenue.”
Though full installation was delayed by wet weather, Schaffner
said he hopes to have the meters operational within the next