"More Technology, Not Garages Says Parking Director"
By Peregrine Frissell — Greenwich Time
More green space and more technology, but not necessarily more parking lots. That’s the goal Town Parking Services Director Rita Azrelyant relayed to the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning at Greenwich Water Club. “Our goal is more green, more trees and more technology,” she said. Azreylant spoke before a score of people at the event, which was held in part to focus on next month’s Sidewalk Sales.The town has begun a two-year project upgrading parking, adding signs, creating maps to direct drivers to underused parking areas and reconfiguring lots to make parking more efficient. It is expected to be completed at the end of summer 2017.
Azrelyant said the town’s parking spaces are divided among permit holders, day parkers and downtown workers. Recent updates to the town’s parking include replacing single meter parking heads to kiosks and smart meters that serve multiple spots and help the department with enforcement. Those meters and kiosks provide live data that is allowing the department to pilot a new app that will tell drivers their likelihood of finding a spot in a certain lot before they enter it, she said. There is a two-hour minimum parking regulation on Greenwich Avenue, but Azrelyant said her department can’t collect all the data the new technology can. “We just don’t have the manpower to do that,” she said. Some members of the audience asked why large-scale parking structures, like multistory garages, didn’t seem to be a priority. “I am not against parking garages, and I am not for parking garages,” Azrelyant said, but feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly negative. In the meantime, she said her office is focusing on making existing lots as efficient as possible by filling them up and keeping traffic flowing while maximizing the revenue they create. Most parking lots at the train stations are owned by Metro-North, Azrelyant said, and the railroad could provide money to add ticket kiosks for day parkers, she said.
She said she had a meeting at the end of June to try to convince Metro-North to release funds to automate the day-parking ticket distribution. Currently, a person goes around and distributes tickets to about 500 cars each day. She would like to see kiosks replace that function.
Town Parking Services has created an incentive to get people to renew their parking permits online. Right now, she said, only about 20 percent of people do so. This season, everyone who renews their application online will be entered in a lottery to win one of two free parking passes. Residents who hold parking permits can renew them online between Aug. 4 and Nov. 4. Those who do not renew online should receive a postcard in the mail in November telling them how to renew by mail or in person. Applications must be submitted before Dec. 9 to avoid a late fee.
Multi Space Meters and Pay by Phone in Downtown Greenwich Avenue Parking Lots - PDF
Parking Mobile Apps - Pay by Phone - link to Town of Greenwich News Release
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