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Reichlin-Melnick: August Village Trustee Updates

by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
This month, I have several updates on Nyack’s parks and Nyack parking. The Village Board is seeking to make the former more orderly and the latter more accessible.

Park Permits

Memorial Park is looking better than ever thanks to the efforts of the Nyack Parks Conservancy and village staff, but this success means that the park is also more popular than ever. The village has been seeing an increasing number of groups who want to use the park for various purposes—summer camps, yoga studios, weddings, dance classes, you name it. Because the relatively small park cannot possibly accommodate all of these uses, at our village board meeting in July we unanimously voted to add language to our village code that requires all groups who want to use Memorial Park for any purpose to apply for a permit from the village to do so. Permits are free, but will generally only be granted by the Village Board if the request can be accommodated without creating an issue for other members of the public trying to use the park and its facilities. The purpose of this law is to ensure that Memorial Park remains fully available for use by Nyack residents and the general public. Permit applications can be obtained from the Village Clerk.

Parking

There are several parking-related updates to share.

Overnight Parking: At the July 12 Village Board meeting, I presented my proposal that the village consider eliminating alternate side overnight parking restrictions on many residential streets to make it easier for residents who want to be able to park their cars overnight without worrying about getting a ticket. Instead, parking could be restricted on alternate days during the week (not on weekends) from 9-11a, when many residents have already left for work. This change would, I think, make things easier for most people. It would also allow the village to conduct street sweeping of residential streets. The rest of the Village Board is reviewing this proposal and will provide feedback on it. In the meantime, if you’d like to share your thoughts on overnight parking I’d appreciate if you could take 4-5 minutes to fill out a short online survey on the issue: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZXVW35F

Please share this survey link with friends in the Village of Nyack. It’s important to me that any change to parking rules is one that will actually make people’s lives easier.

Removing parking restrictions on Jefferson St: I have long believed that there is a shortage of on-street parking available in many neighborhoods, so I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to remove unnecessary parking regulations. At a board meeting earlier this summer, I brought up the fact that the east side of Jefferson Street near the former St. Ann’s School still had signs up designating most of the block as a tow-away zone between 8 and 9a on school days. Since the school is no longer in operation, the rest of the board agreed that the signs should be removed, and they finally came down a few weeks ago. The only parking restriction now in effect on that side of Jefferson St. is the normal alternate side overnight parking rules.

Preserving on-street parking on Depew Ave: At our July meeting, the Board discussed a request by the developer of the proposed Diana Place apartment building on Main Street (in the block between Midland and 9W) to remove four public on-street parking spaces on Depew Avenue to accommodate a proposed driveway for the new building. Though the building would be constructed on Main Street, the developer proposed that there be no entrance or exit to the on-site parking there. Instead, a driveway would be constructed from the rear of the property out to Depew Avenue, approximately across from Crosby St. This project is currently being reviewed by the Planning Board, whose traffic consultant found that in order to construct a driveway to Depew, four on-street parking spaces on Depew would have to be removed in order to ensure safe sightlines for cars entering and exiting the driveway.

Since the Village Board has jurisdiction over the removal of on-street parking spaces, the issue came to us for discussion and decision. We do not have jurisdiction, and were not discussing, the merits of the project itself; review of the project as a whole is conducted by the Planning Board and other land use boards. After reviewing a parking study conducted by the village’s traffic consultant, listening to concerns from residents, and drawing on the knowledge I gained while receiving my master’s degree in city and regional planning, I decided that the potential consequences to parking availability and traffic safety that would come from removing these spaces were unacceptable to me, and I explained my opposition to removing the spaces. Two other trustees expressed similar concerns and shared my opposition to removing the spaces. With a majority of the board opposed to removing the parking spaces, a resolution rejecting the request to remove the parking spaces was drafted and will be voted on at an upcoming village board meeting.

Parking issues downtown: For many years, the large lot behind Village Hall (next to OD’s) has been open to the public after 5p. However, this lot has never been publicly owned, and the current owners have recently decided to close the lot to the public. While I understand the need for space during construction of the new RCC Culinary Arts Center coming this fall to the building at the corner of Broadway and Main, it is disappointing that even after construction is complete, the public will apparently still not be allowed to use this space. The village board is actively seeking options to replace the loss of these more than 70 publicly available spaces downtown.

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Want to get more details on these or any other Nyack topics? I’m holding my monthly “Meet Your Trustee” event on Tuesday, August 14 from 6p to 7p at Johnnycakes on Main Street. Stop by for a casual conversation about any Nyack issues on your mind.




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