The Village of Scarsdale held a lottery for parking permits for the Christie Place and Freightway garages in June. Permits at Christie Place are $1,500 and $950 at Freightway. In the old days, there was ample parking and the Village could simply offer parking to everyone who applied. But with an increase in demand, the Village decided to run a lottery.
The commuter we heard from had several complaints. He wondered why people who had a space during the previous year were not given priority. He also complained that the Village oversells permits, selling more permits than there are spaces. The commuter said, “Sometimes during the winter, permit holders can’t find a spot. It’s not a problem for anyone on the early trains, but a real pain on those days when a permit holder has a sick child, doctor’s appointment, etc., and ends up on a late train.”
In order to address these issues, we spoke to Village Clerk Donna Conkling who ran the lottery this year.
Here is what she shared:
This year the Village received fewer applications for parking permits than they did last year – because this year applications were limited to one per household. Last year, 40 people submitted duplicate applications hoping to get at least one permit.
Last year after the lottery there were 40 people on the waiting list for a permit – this year there were only 10. And since the lottery on June 15th, some have cancelled so there are now only five names on the waiting list.
The Village does sell more permits than there are spaces, because some are reverse commuters and use the parking spots at night and take their cars out to go to work during the day.
The Village sells 285 permits for 224 spaces at Christie Place and 650 permits for 489 spaces at Freightway. This year they received 274 applications for Christie Place and 584 for Freightway, so the vast majority of residents were accommodated.
The Village recently did a study over an eight to nine month period and found that the garages were only full for two days during the entire period. Conkling says that people prefer to park on the street level at Christie Place but there are often spots available on the lower level. The police keep an eye on the situation to make sure there are spaces available for permit holders.
Why doesn’t the Village give priority to those who had a permit the prior year? Conkling explained that the City of Rye did this for years, and ended up with an eight-year waiting list for a permit. Even if people no longer needed the parking spot, they held onto it. If Scarsdale gave priority to existing permit holders, she believes the same waiting list would develop.
She also explained that formerly many preferred a permit at Christie Place. But now that the construction of the Popham Road Bridge is complete and there is pedestrian access from the train platform to Freightway Garage, many are asking to park at Freightway and save some money.
Conkling also explained that residents with two commuters in the family who need two spots can apply after the lottery for an additional spot. If one becomes available, she will offer it to the applicants.
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