SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The city will modify parking limits imposed earlier this week on the upper level of the Putnam Street parking garage, allowing people to park in most of its 90-plus spaces for up to 24 hours.
The move, which doesn't affect any other places where new three-hour parking limits have begun, including the garage's lower level, was requested by residents and people who work downtown and need all-day parking. The city had put a three-hour limit on the upper deck.
"Many have asked me to allow full-day parking on this deck," city Public Safety Commissioner Peter R. Martin said late Thursday. "I want to be responsive to the requests I have received."
Effective immediately, Martin said, the upper level will have 24-hour-limit parking, except in the winter, when overnight parking has been prohibited for many years. Martin said he will ask the City Council to designate 19 spots facing the garage's west wall as three-hour spaces, but would leave the all-day limit on the rest.
While the changes will address the immediate issues raised by residents, employees and merchants, Martin said he plans to ask the City Council for permission to hire outside planning professionals to develop a parking management plan.
The City Council approved new downtown parking limits for most city-owned parking lots in April, though few people realized it until new parking restriction signs were installed. The signs on the Putnam Street garage went up late Monday, and complaints quickly started to come in.
The city's goal is to increase parking turnover so visitors planning to shop or visit restaurants along Broadway will have an easier time finding parking. The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce sought the changes, though on Wednesday chamber President Todd Shimkus said the chamber had expected the upper level of the Putnam garage to be exempt from the three-hour limit so downtown workers would have a place to park all day.
Elsewhere around downtown, new three-hour limits also apply to the surface and ground levels of the four-story Woodlawn Avenue parking deck, though the upper levels will carry a 24-hour limit. The limits in that lot are only in place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The two-story deck farther north on Woodlawn will also have ground-floor spaces restricted to three-hour parking, with the upper level restricted to 24-hour parking.