The Nyack Village Board has approved free parking on Thursday evenings from 6p to 9p beginning on July 13. The temporary program, slated to run through the 2009 holiday season, will conservatively cost the village about $10,000 in lost parking revenue. Merchants, who made up most of the 40 attendees at the meeting, enthusiastically supported the resolution. “It is a small gesture on the part of the Village Board to the merchants,” said Adam Lipson.
The move is designed to make Nyack a parking destination on Thursday nights. Store owners believe the extended trial period will give them an opportunity to advertise the promotion. “It has to be an event on a consistent basis to draw a regular following,” said Patti Aagaard, owner of the Reality Bites Cafe. Merchants promised to advertise the event on Rockland World Radio, the Chamber of Commerce Website and as part of a Better Homes and Garden ad in the NYT.
Village Trustee Richard Kavesh cited consultant Georges Jacquemart, author of a 2007 parking study of Nyack, saying the plan is doomed to fail. ‘€œIt’s counterproductive and it doesn’t help the parking situation,’€ noting that people can tie up prime spots for up to six hours by parking at 3p and filling up the meters for three hours before prior to the free parking period. “It won’t create turnover and will only add to the problem,” he said.
The board first approved a more conservative plan permitting free parking on Thursdays limited to the lots adjacent to Riverspace from 6p to 9p. The Village Board immediately reversed itself to make all parking free after a South Broadway shopkeeper shouted “this doesn’t do anything for me.” After two board members apologized for not including this factor in their decision making, the board rescinded its vote and approved free parking for all spaces in Nyack.
Although merchants complained that customers won’t shop in Nyack because of the parking, Village Controller John Cincotta says parking revenues have been steadily rising each week indicating that people are coming to the village.