Pumping the brakes

Former village mayor Dan Leary offers his support for the proposed parking changes in the village. 

WAVERLY — Just over one month since Waverly trustees voted 5-1 to move forward with sweeping parking changes across the municipality, the board agreed to send the proposal back to the parking committee for at least one more review.

The delay was the result of a relatively long public hearing in which board members heard support from some community members and skepticism from others.

Mayor Patrick Ayres opened the hearing by stating that parking issues throughout the village have been an issue for years.

“Over the decade, village government has made incremental changes to the parking patterns throughout the village streets,” he said. “Many of these changes are more visible in the downtown corridor or Chemung Street. The new local law would expand some of these restrictions on streets north of Chemung Street, generally.”

Specifically, the proposed law stated that no parking would be allowed on the following portions of these roadways:

• The west side of Pine Street from its intersection with Chemung Street north to Moore Street.

• The west side of Orange Street from its intersection with Chemung Street north to Moore Street.

• The east side of Cadwell Avenue from its intersection with Chemung Street north to Florence Street.

• The west side of Clark Street from its intersection with Chemung Street north to Moore Street. However, there would also be no parking allowed on the east side on Clark Steet from that intersection going 90 feet north, and no parking on the east side going south 90 feet from Clinton Avenue.

• The west side of Fulton Street from its intersection with Chemung Street north to Clinton Street. Additionally, no parking would be allowed on the east side of Fulton Street from Clinton Street going north to Moore Street.

• The west side of Waverly Street from its intersection with Chemung Street north to Moore Street.

• The east side of the entire length of Lincoln Street.

• The south side of the entire length of Florence Street.

• The south side of the entire length of Blizzard Street.

• The north side of the entire length of Park Place.

• The east side of the entire length of Wilbur Street.

• The south side of the entire length of Clinton Avenue.

• The east side of the entire length of Center Street.

• The east side of Orchard Street from its intersection with Chemung Street north to Liberty Street.

• The north side of Providence Street from its intersection with Spaulding Street west to Pennsylvania Avenue.

• The north side of Elm Street from its intersection with Spaulding Street west to Pennsylvania Avenue.

• Both sides of Ithaca Street between Chemung and Spaulding streets.

“The streets identified are narrow and congested with cars, oftentimes restricting the flow of normal traffic and posing a significant impairment to emergency vehicles and school buses,” Ayres continued. “To accommodate the flow of traffic, many residents park their vehicles in the greenspace and not on the road. This has significantly deteriorated the greenspace on these roadways.”

The mayor added that the village board has studied the issue for several months, and has heard the statements and concerns from village residents throughout the process.

Ayres also noted that the village will seek to work with landlords of multi-unit dwellings to alleviate overcrowded parking on streets, and that village police will closely monitor any speeding or illegal parking concerns on the affected roadways.

However, those measures were put on ice at least for now, despite the support echoed by former mayor Daniel Leary and Waverly Central School District Superintendent Eric Knolles during the public hearing — although the former recommended that the board get a solid figure in terms of pricing to purchase signs for the new law.

Ayres noted that he did reach out to a business for a price estimate for new signage, and said the endeavor could cost around $6,400 if the village needed 150 signs and installation kits.

Resident Ron Keene also expressed interest in including Elliott Street into the parking proposal.

“(Elliott Street) is now one of the main (school) bus routes, and if you go there in the afternoon and watch the traffic come down Elliott Street — now we got tenants parking on both sides of the street,” he said. “It’s going to be a problem. They’ve totally taken out the greenspace. I would like see something done there, and hopefully one-sided parking on Elliott Street to be included with this package.”

Keene also suggested village trustees explore what he called “California curbing,” which would eliminate the greenspace up to the sidewalks and make that area road space.

Residents also largely agreed that multi-unit dwellings present a large problem for parking space throughout the village.

“Absolutely one of the major problems we have are tenants,” said resident Cindy Stevens. “We don’t have homeowners, we have massive single-family dwelling homes that have been made into multiple complexes. That’s the bandaid that (the board) should have ripped off a long time ago, and should rip off now. That’s the crux of our problem.”

Stevens also asked what was a determining factor in deciding which side of the road to disallow parking, to which Trustee Andrew Aronstam replied that it was largely determined by which side of the street at the most fire hydrants.

Additionally, Aronstam said it was important to look at programs or assistance in working with landlords to develop off-street parking, noting that it would be a major focus of the village moving forward regardless of parking changes.

However, even the board was split on making the parking changes. While Trustee Kevin Sweeney emphasized his support for the proposal, citing safety and emergency response times, Trustee Steve Burlingame opposed the law altogether.

“I think it’s ludicrous to restrict the parking in half the village,” he said. “I understand that there are pinch points where some emergency apparatus may not be able to get through certain spots. So I think we should address the pinch points, not penalize the whole village and make parking an issue. I just think it’s overkill.”

In the end, Trustee Jerry Sinsabaugh suggested taking the law back to the parking committee to look at final adjustments — a proposal with which the board agreed.

“This is a big project,” he said. “I’m glad we’re doing it. I’ve been on this board a long time, and it’s an issue that’s been kicked to the curb for a long time. It needs to be done. I agree with it 100 percent, but I think we need to look it over and make sure we’re doing it right. I don’t want to come back here next month and say ‘oh we made a mistake on this street and we need to do something different.’ If it’s a couple more weeks before we vote on it, I don’t think there’s a problem with that. Let’s listen to the people tonight, and let’s do it the way it should be done.”

More information is expected to be presented at the board next workshop meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28.

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or jwilliams@morning-times.com. Follow Johnny Williams on Twitter @johnnywMT

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