Improvements coming to Schenectady downtown parking

The Clinton North parking lot is seen in downtown Schenectady.

The Clinton North parking lot is seen in downtown Schenectady.

SCHENECTADY — A number of downtown parking lots will receive a facelift in the coming years under a capital project proposed Wednesday by Metroplex Development Authority. 

The $1.7 million proposal is one of a pair of capital projects Metroplex has planned over the next five years that would improve access to parking in the downtown area. The agency is also planning a number of repairs to its Hamilton Street parking garage at a cost of $928,000.

Metroplex chairman Ray Gillen said the proposed work is part of ongoing efforts to maintain parking lots owned by the development authority and that there is no firm timeline on when work will begin. The plans must still be approved by the Schenectady County Legislature.

“We’re constantly investing in the lots every year,” he said.

Metroplex, which owns 11 parking lots throughout downtown, is seeking to upgrade eight of them, including those on Clinton Street, Broadway, Liberty Street and in Little Italy.

Plans range from the simple restriping and repair of a dumpster enclosure at a lot located between Liberty and Franklin streets for $9,000, to comprehensive upgrades, including a $616,000 proposal to install a new entrance, curbing and stormwater infrastructure at the City Hall lot located along Liberty.

A public hearing on the proposed capital projects, which Metroplex is required to submit to the county Legislature annually, is expected to take place around March 1, though an exact date is expected to be finalized in the near future.

Gillen noted that there is no firm timeline for when the projects would be complete, adding work is dependent on available funds and what other projects Metroplex is involved in throughout the county.

In addition to the lot upgrades, the development authority is planning a series of maintenance repairs to its Hamilton Street parking garage as part of ongoing maintenance efforts. The five-deck structure was constructed 30 years ago and will undergo “corrective measures, repairs and ongoing maintenance,” according to the proposal.

“This is all part of our five-year plan,” Gillen said.

But parking in the downtown area is set to see an immediate upgrade.

Metroplex board members approved $194,000 in separate spending to improve parking in the area, including $115,000 to install a new entry and exit validation system at its parking garage along Broadway.

The new system will make it easier to enter and exit the facility — helping to curtail traffic — and will be able to accept a number of access cards, including ID cards belonging to SUNY Schenectady students who often utilize the garage when attending class at the City Center building.

The remaining balance will be used for the purchase of an SUV that will be used by LAZ Parking employees for $30,000, and the purchase and installation of three parking kiosks that will allow visitors to pay for parking using cash and credit cards, instead of through the Passport parking app.

The kiosks will be installed in the Center City lot, the Amtrak lot and the Franklin-Liberty lot.

Gillen said the improvements will build on top of improvements made at the Broadway garage last year, and make parking easier for those who may have a difficult time navigating technology to pay for parking. The kiosks, he added, have been requested by a number of downtown businesses.

“We want to be customer friendly,” Gillen said. “It’s a good package.”

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.  

Categories: News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

Bill Nechamen February 10, 2022
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There really should be a kiosk in each of the parking lots. There are many people who cannot use Passport because they don’t have a credit card, or don’t have or don’t use a Smart Phone. Plus there are people who come to Schenectady infrequently and would not even think of downloading an app to park. Frankly, I miss having parking attendants since they were ambassadors to downtown Schenectady. Plus having the first two hours free encourages people to come downtown for a quick purchase, business transaction or lunch. But I can understand if the attendants don’t make fiscal sense. I don’t really see though why a kiosk system cannot simply be an extension of the parking kiosks that are set up for on street parking.