The Great Over-Night Street Parking Debate

Posted by Anonymous

(Image - Small driveway on High St. Lockport NY)

The on-street parking debate has surfaced again. From recent LUSJ:

Article 2008-12-10

Article 2008-12-11

and Buffalo News:

Article 2008-12-11

A resident on Irving Street is arguing with city hall over street parking permits and/or being allowed to have a tenant of her 2-family house park on the right of way between the street and sidewalk. City hall appears to be very stingy in handing out the $40 street parking permits as LUSJ reports only currently 14 are issued. But they counter with the fact that those 14 are out of 17 requests.
The city code states:
§ 183-23. Parking prohibited.
9-27-1989; 6-18-2003]
No vehicle shall be left parked or standing on
any public highway in the City of Lockport between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and
6:00 a.m.
The parking of vehicles at any time upon such portion of a
designated street or highway within the City boundary with a pavement width of
less than 21 feet is hereby prohibited. The City Clerk shall keep a record of
such streets on file as determined by the Department of Engineering.
Parking between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Effective September
1, 2003, no vehicle shall remain parked upon any street in the City's Central
Business District between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. unless the owner
has applied to the Traffic Advisory Board, and received from the City Clerk upon
recommendation of the Traffic Advisory Board, an authorized parking permit;
provided, however, that this section shall not apply to physicians while making
professional calls to or any ambulance or vehicle of a funeral director while
such vehicle is engaged in professional calls.
Authorized parking
permits shall be issued by the City Clerk upon recommendation of the Traffic
Advisory Board, upon verification that suitable off-street parking is not
available and that it is impractical for the owner to provide off-street
All permits shall be effective from January 1 through
December 31 of each year. The annual fee for such permit shall be $40. Payment
shall be in cash, check or money order drawn on United States funds made payable
to the "City Clerk." The fee is nonrefundable and will not be prorated. In the
event a check is returned for insufficient funds, the permit shall automatically
be revoked without further notice to the permit holder, and a penalty of $15
shall be charged. A replacement fee of $1 shall be charged for lost or stolen
Permits must be displayed from the rear view mirror of your
vehicle and may not be transferred from vehicle to vehicle. Failure to properly
display said permit shall result in the issuance of a parking ticket.
As widely seen, most municipalities in Erie and Niagara county have no overnight parking in the winter. Buffalo I know is one exception and relies on alternating sides. Growing up on the east side of Buffalo I was familiar with that system and the mess that it usually left throughout the winter. If residents of a municipality that prohibits on-street parking are able to survive the 4 months of Nov-Mar should they not be able to use the same system for the other 8 months?
I will admit it can be a 60-180 second pain in the ass to shuffle vehicles in the driveway. I also know I'd be more inclined to leave my rusty chore truck "out of my way" in the street while leaving the two newer vehicles in the driveway. But I do also enjoy the cleaner streets and the open night vistas that no on-street overnight parking allows. I do feel much safer walking the dog after dark without being wedged between a wall of cars on the streets and houses on the lots.
“We’re talking about a four-hour window,” Pasceri said. “For four hours, that’s
when all the streets would be plowed, when all the crime would happen? I don’t
believe it.”
This statement, while "true", does not fully represent reality. It is not as if the streets are filled with cars until 2AM and they are then moved to off-street parking. The no overnight ensures a vast number of vehicles are off the street long before the 2AM cut-off.
I am not expert in parking by any means. It is one of my more passionate subjects yet I have yet to obtain any books on it. Its value and correct implimantation is often misunderstood. I do look forward to obtaining a copy of The High Cost of Free Parking after I finish 4 books that I currently have queued up. If an area is not paved to hell and back it is often construed as inconvenient or not resident friendly etc. I feel that is a false assumption. We can see the type of environments that it gives us. This will pry have to be a topic I'll have to revisit down the road once I am able to read up on it a bit and become more informed.
There is pry a solution somewhere. One could pry involve higher permit fees to curb misuse (overuse) with the funds going back into infrastructure improvements on the streets they are used on. Possibly allow landlords to apply for them so they can distribute the cost of the permit over the 12 month rental period for their tenants? Your thoughts?
UPDATE: 12-15-2008:
LUSJ reporting that after deliberations the city decided to keep the parking system as is.
UPDATE: 12-16-2008
LUSJ reporting a possible softening stance. That the council decided to tell the traffic board to let them decide seems out of place. Noted this portion:

After a weekend drive around the city really looking at residents’ parking arrangements, he added, he may go next to the zoning board and ask it to not treat every front-yard parking variance request the same.

Please do not allow zoning variances for front yard parking. Street parking way before front yard parking should be a given every where but one lane alleys. If there are to be more permits handed out. Make sure the fees go to street improvements.


Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz said...

I think one sided parking for streets that are wide enough to handle it should be allowed. Absolutely in no circumstances should they allow this parking on the front lawn, it looks horrible and is probably a fire/safety hazard as well. I'd be pretty pissed if my neighbors were parking on their front lawns. However, something Buffalo does have is snow overflow lots where it's free to park overnight during the snow removal seasons - does Lockport have those? I just moved here so I'm not sure. Either way, in this case, I think she either needs to work it out with her tenant or find an alternate parking situation within the law because the front yard thing is awful.

Anonymous said...

Growing up in the Filmore-CLinton area of the east side of Buffalo, I don't recall any snow overflow lots. Where were some located?

Liz said...

I can think of two offhand in the Allentown/West side area that are available for offstreet parking free on off hours...

jaws said...

Don't know what the solution is. People in my neighborhood park in front yard. Not surprisingly they are converted apartments. Looks bad but I was guilty of it as well. Parents house had 2 car driveway w/ 4 cars. Got tickets for parking in right of way couple of times ($25?). What else could we do.. ended up parking in neighbors driveways and those of local businesses when they would let us.

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