SCHENECTADY — The recent push to enforce alternate-side parking in the Stockade has resulted in a prolonged scrum for limited spots, Stockade Association President Suzanne Unger said this week.
Since early February, Unger said, off-street parking has been at a minimum on three streets in the Stockade, as people park illegally, where ever they can to find a spot, sometimes blocking driveways. Conditions are “so tight” it’s hard to see, Unger said.
“It’s created a real safety hazard, aside from the annoyance of not being able to find a parking spot,” she said.
The city has said that it recently launched a review of parking rules due to concerns about snow removal.
On Union Street between Erie Boulevard and Washington Street, odd-even alternate parking is to occur between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. daily, with a two-hour parking limit 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
But this week, Mayor Gary McCarthy said the city took the conciliatory step of removing the two-hour parking signs in the Stockade neighborhood.
McCarthy said the two-hour parking limit didn’t appear to have a practical application in present times.
But the more controversial issue of alternate-side parking in the Stockade remains in place.
On Feb. 4, the week after a snowstorm, the city began issuing $35 tickets to violators, which residents said was an abrupt departure from the rule not being enforced for years. Unger said the regulation hadn’t previously been enforced since she moved to the neighborhood in 2014.
Off-street parking in the neighborhood was already limited, especially at night, when people tend to be home, residents said.
Police did not respond to a request by the Daily Gazette this week seeking stats on the number tickets written for alternate-side parking violations.
The association asked the city to place a moratorium on enforcement, until it can come up with a more palatable plan.
Last week, McCarthy met with the Stockade Association during a virtual meeting. The topic came up again.
“I have not put a moratorium in one area or another at this point,” McCarthy told a reporter. McCarthy noted, however, that some parking regulations, such as two-hour parking, have been in effect since the 1950s and may not be applicable today. Because of that, he said, the city is “trying to work with (Stockade residents) to make people generally happy.”
Stating there are a variety of parking concerns in the city, McCarthy said he didn’t want to project that he was paying more attention to one neighborhood because its residents were more vocal than others.
Meanwhile, the fines keep piling for Union Street resident Christopher Marney, who said he’s amassed seven tickets since early February. He said he will plead not guilty to each one and exercise his right to hearings.
“I’m a stubborn person to begin with,” Marney said. “But there are many times, even if I wanted to move my car, there’s nowhere to put it. I’m just kind of risking it because at this time, sometimes they issue tickets, sometimes they don’t.”
Marney said alternate-side parking might have been useful when MVP Healthcare’s former headquarters were in the neighborhood.
But the rule no longer fits with the residential neighborhood, he said.
“I know it’s utilized very heavily in New York City and other major metropolitan areas,” Marney said. “All we’re saying is that, for this section of Union Street in the Stockade, it’s not a good fit, especially between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.”