New recommendations for Plattsburgh parking problems

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) A parking study has been in the works in Plattsburgh to try to figure out what to do about the nearly 300 parking spaces downtown that the city is about to lose. Now, new recommendations from a parking consultant are out.

A 16-page document outlines 14 different recommendations that the hired parking study firm, Carl Walker, came up with to address the downtown parking situation. Last year, the city announced it will get rid of the Durkee Street parking lot and build on it as a part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, though some shop owners still have their doubts.

"I think it's going to affect local businesses all around just because it's hard enough to get people to come downtown, so if they don't have parking or they're going to need to pay for parking, it's not going to be really attractive," said Caitlyn LaPier, who owns DressCode.

LaPier fears that some of the results of the parking study could affect her business

"Our clients bring in two bags, three bags of clothes every week... having to walk that distance to get to our store carrying two bags is not desirable," she said.

Over the last few months, the city of Plattsburgh hired parking consultant Carl Walker to figure out how to get the most parking in the city while continuing the Downtown Revitalization process.

The study resulted in 14 recommendations, including metered parking in the city, the possibility of a parking garage and even blocking Court Street off for more parking spaces.

"To be completely honest, I feel like if people have to pay for that parking, it's going to turn them away," LaPier said.

While some shops downtown oppose the idea, others, like Kim Manion at Maui North, see its potential.

"Progress is difficult. If you want to maintain the status quo, then everybody can be happy. If you're going to move forward, it does require-- you know, nothing worth having is ever easy," Manion said.

Manion has owned the shop the last five years and is a Plattsburgh native.

"There is heart and soul in downtown and we need to figure out how to get more people down here to appreciate it and the revitalization effort is a great initiative in the regard," Manion said.

She understands other store owners' frustrations but knows the parking lot is going and is appreciative that the city is going to these lengths.

"I applaud them for tackling this and trying to get creative in terms of how you accommodate people that need to park," Manion said.

Her one request: "Parking for an hour, you know parking for a half hour, I don't care just as long as there is some free available parking."

City residents have asked for more public hearings in the future regarding the revitalization initiative and parking study so their input can be heard.