Saratoga Springs seeks help with parking; paid system possible

February 22, 2018 06:54 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The city of Saratoga Springs might be a victim of its own success.

People often complain that it can be hard to find a spot to park in the city's popular downtown. The city council hears those complaints and is seeking solutions. They're asking for professionals to come up with proposals for a comprehensive parking plan for the city. They would figure out if the city is using its garages, lots and street-level spots wisely. The company would make a recommendation about whether it makes sense to start charging people to park.

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NewsChannel 13 asked Mayor Meg Kelly Thursday if paid parking is on the table. "It could be on or off,” said Kelly. "I want to see what they come back with."

The idea has come up many times before and been rejected each time. The business community has argued that charging people to park would keep customers out of stores and restaurants.

"I'm against paid parking. I don't want to see meters on the sidewalks. I don't think we need it in this town,” said Doreen Kamen, owner of Common Thread Saratoga. "I just think we need better management of the parking we already have."

However, the new mayor says it seems business owners are more open to the idea than years ago, because they want to see the spots turned over more frequently. "I think there is a change happening,” Kelly said.

"But the people I talk to on Broadway are very concerned. They don't want ugly parking meters up and down Broadway," said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

Michele Madigan, the city's Finance Commissioner isn't ready to endorse paid parking.

"It might be something we might want to start with a parking garage and see how that works," she said.

Accounts Commissioner John Franck says the idea of paid parking comes up every other year and his position hasn't changed.

"Why would we want to now charge people to have the right to shop here in the city of Saratoga Springs?” Franck asked. "I think it's ridiculous."

Commissioner Madigan says the proposals are expected back to the city in mid to late March.


Mark Mulholland

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