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Mt. Kisco to Cut Free Holiday Parking Spots

With the changes, some on-street parking spots will require feeding meters, while lots will remain free. Village Board members cite frustration with people leaving vehicles beyond 1-hour limits as a reason.

Mount Kisco is scaling back the number of free parking spots that it will allow for the holiday shopping season.

The changes, which will come at the discretion of Village Manager James Palmer, will impact 1-hour, on-street spots along South Moger Avenue and the northern section of East Main Street, Palmer said. Parking in the village's downtown lots - they are Shopper's Park, Blackeby, South Moger and North Moger - will remain free for periods of several hours, with durations depending on the lot.

Palmer acknowledged that he will implement the changes after the idea was discussed among members of the Village Board of Trustees at Monday's meeting. He said that he will send out more details about it.

The move comes because some trustees have grown tired of complaints about people using the on-street spots, which are meant to have high turnover, far beyond the 1-hour limits and thinking that free parking means that it is unlimited. 

“The issue is that certain people abuse the privilege," said Cindrich, who was adamant about making the change.

Cindrich felt that if people want to shop longer, then they should use the lots, which will have free parking for times of two to four hours, depending on the lot.

“My thought is that if you're going to shop for three or four hours - which we encourage in the village - you park in the lots.” 

Cindrich also said that merchants have previously complained about people using the on-street spots for too long, preferring turnover.

“They don't want cars to be warehoused on the street for more than one hour.”

Free parking, which in previous years has been sponsored by the village's chamber of commerce, will be in effect from Dec. 10 through the new year, Mayor J. Michael Cindrich told reporters after the meeting.

In allowing the free parking, Mount Kisco gives up revenue. According to Palmer, allowing for free parking costs the village about $30,000 in meter revenue. The point of having it, however, has been to encourage people to shop downtown, which has been intended to give the village a boost in and of itself.

Cindrich and Palmer feel that the change is not due to lack of effort on their part in reaching out to the chamber and business community. 

“They didn't offer us any options," Cindrich said. Palmer, meanwhile, felt that there was not a consistent response among merchants about the situation, saying that no two gave "the same answer."

Trustees appeared to be split on the issue. Deputy Mayor George Griffin was emphatic in scaling back the spots, feeling that short-term spaces need turnover. Trustees Jean Farber and Anthony Markus, meanwhile, appeared hesistant, and each suggested keeping the on-street spots free, watching how people behave with them, and giving Palmer the discretion to remove the free privilege mid-way through the holiday season if it is abused.

The plan as proposed, Farber felt, was “like sort of like going against the Christmas spirit.” Towards the end of discussion about the topic, Farber asked that whatever is decided be "publicized heavily" so that people do not get angry if they have a mistaken impression about free parking. The village, in on respect, will do just that, as Palmer told the board that explanations about what is allowed will be more legible disclaimers to indicate the free parking.

New Trustee Karen Schleimer, who attended her first meeting since beginning her term over the weekend, did not give her opinion on the issue. 

Cathy Deutsch December 04, 2012 at 08:17 PM
First of all I would like to note that the headline stating that free parking is cut lends to a negative impression of the towns position on parking. Parking being amended would be more friendly and accurate. As a shopkeeper on Main St I applaud this change. Too often one hour parking had been abused in the past making the quick turnover of shoppers in town difficult. Mayor Chindrich has been a champion for the retailers in the town working with us to promote and help enhance the village and its variety of shops and services through very difficult times. As shopkeepers and residents we look forward to a prosperous and healthy Holiday season and hope that our customers enjoy all that our shops have to offer . Cathy Deutsch Tiger Lily Btq.
Kelly J December 05, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I think this is a terrific idea. I have long thought that the free parking creates more parking issues during a high traffic time of year. Merchants and shoppers count on those spaces to turn over and, when they don't, it is a source of frustration to all involved. By the way, I'm sure the Village of Mount Kisco would rather have that $30,000 in lost parking revenue in its pocket. Why not do away with free parking all together?
Lisa Buchman (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 02:07 AM
I shop in Mt. Kisco frequently and admit I feel a little jolt of happy when the spot is free! But I do understand the merchants point of view regarding turnover. What do others think—eliminate all free spots? Does free parking affect your decision on whether to shop in the area?
TOPPER December 05, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Of course the free parking limit is abused. Do the majority of people actually read what it says on those little red bags placed on the meters? NO! It does say "1 hour", but then, alot of people in this town feel they have the "right" to park without paying ALL YEAR. PEOPLE, IT'S A QUARTER! None of you will go to the "poor-house". I've gotten tickets for neglecting my meter (not often). Oh, well. Don't yell at the meter-agents who give the tickets. It's their job. Put your quarters in...or send in your $10.
Bassett December 06, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Free parking and extended time limits make a big difference when people are deciding where to shop. Will be interesting to see how this affects the merchants. One hour is not sufficient . If in and out is needed, then make a few spots 30 minutes.

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