How many years did the state Office of General Services have to prepare for the residential parking permit plan that took effect in downtown Albany two weeks ago? Or was it decades?
Actually, the answer is decades — two — but who’s counting? OGS still wasn’t ready.
An agency spokesman confirmed in yesterday’s Gazette story that a restructuring of the state’s downtown parking system is in the works, but won’t be completed until sometime this spring. One would have thought it would be done in conjunction with the start-up of the city’s new permit program, but OGS never bothered to replace a long-departed parking director until just recently.
Suddenly this week, 1,000 or so dedicated spots were found, scattered about the Empire State Plaza garage and a number of the neighborhood’s surface lots — where were they hiding? — and are being made available to union workers who used to take up all residents’ spaces.
Union officials say that even before OGS announced this “release valve” Wednesday, there hadn’t been too many complaints about the new program from the rank-and-file. So maybe Albany’s parking problem isn’t that big, after all.
Still, it’s good news that a restructuring is imminent, because with 13,000 state workers invading downtown every day, and with 3,000 spaces being taken out of the mix by the new permit program, efficiency is paramount. Updates to the state’s list of dedicated spaces need to be regular, taking into account retirements, attrition, etc. And OGS needs to do a better job trying to get workers to use alternatives to their cars — buses, bikes, carpools, etc. — so fewer of them are driving downtown every day.