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Saratoga Springs tweaks public parking hours in city lots after workers push back

June 14, 2019 07:01 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Tara Hutchins has worked in Saratoga Springs for about two years. Sometimes, the most difficult part of her day is finding a space for her car.

"It is extremely challenging to find a parking spot for those of us who work in downtown Saratoga," said Hutchins.

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The city is aware that parking is a challenge and in an effort to alleviate the problem, has recently changed the hours when people can park in city lots and garages.

Some were recently changed from 48-hour lots to 3-hour lots, but people who work downtown pushed back on that change because employees would have to move their cars at least twice during a workday.

The city relented and is now allowing parking for 24-hours in some spots while including 3-hour spaces for visitors.

"There's a lot of cities in upstate NY that don't have parking problems. They'd love to have our parking problems," said Michael Okby, who has worked in financial services sector from offices on Broadway for 35 years.

Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin says they need a more comprehensive approach.

"We are the victim of our own success," said Martin. "And what I would like to do actually is take a look for a more long-term developed plan."

Harvey Fox agrees. He's the owner of N. Fox Jewelers and the chair of a parking task force that three years ago recommended a comprehensive approach and a city-paid parking coordinator.

"A well-managed parking system will turn and everyone will see tremendous increase I believe in their business."

Fox says striping and consistent signage will be a good start. And he's eager for a pay-to-park garage to be built behind the City Center that will have room for more than 600 cars.

For Tara Hutchins, even with the new times, the race to get a spot continues.

"We need more all-day parking and now there are even fewer all day spots. I think we just need more parking."

Hutchins says it could be even more challenging this summer when track visitors have two dark days each week to compete for downtown parking with locals and employees.

Ryan McMahon, the executive director of the Saratoga Springs City Center, says he hopes to have a new parking garage with 612 spaces open in the third quarter of 2020.

Credits

Mark Mulholland

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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