White Plains mulls parking meter hikes, extended enforcement hours
It may soon cost you more to park in one of Westchester's most bustling downtowns.
The White Plains Common Council received a series of recommendations from the city's Parking and Traffic Department that would increase meter rates, extend enforcement hours and create high-demand parking lots.
"There's a lot of money that needs to be invested back into the system," said White Plains Parking and Traffic Commissioner Kevin Livingston at the City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 27.
The proposal includes increasing on-street parking in the downtown district to $1.50 an hour and $1.25 an hour for on-street parking outside of downtown and off-street.
Currently, off-street and on-street outside of downtown costs $1 an hour, on-street downtown is $1.25 an hour.
The city would also extend downtown on-street metered parking hours from 9 p.m. until midnight, turn four lots (Waller/Maple, Quarropas, Mitchel, and Court) into high-demand parking lots that cost $1.50 an hour, and increase the cost of garage parking violations from $10 to $20.
Right now, city law requires meter payment Monday through Saturday for all on-street meters in the downtown area from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Payment is required for on-street meters outside of the downtown area from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Street parking is free on Sundays and on select holidays. Off-street meters in lots and garages require payment 24/7.
Expired on-street or lot meters can land you a $25 ticket. Expired meters in a garage are eligible for a $10 overtime notice.
According to city officials, rates were last raised for on-street downtown parking in 2018, violations in 2011, and off-street parking in 2007.
Mayor Thomas Roach believes these changes will encourage fewer people to park long-term on the street which causes traffic congestion and fewer available spots, lead to more long-term parking in the garages, and raise much-needed revenue for parking maintenance.
"We need more parking spaces on the street, but we can't create more space, so we have to create turnover," said Livingston.
Longtime city residents expressed how frustrating the parking situation downtown can be.
"I have a lot of friends that will not come to White Plains because of the parking. They've come and within 10 minutes of maybe their meter expiring as they're running out, they've gotten tickets," said White Plains resident Alexis Smith.
These are just a series of proposals before the council. Many members raised concerns about the potential changes including the timing, impact on businesses, and whether it would dissuade people from visiting downtown because of the cost.
The council's next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 11.