BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin writes a weekly column. It is being reprinted by The Daily Voice.
Parking is quite possibly the most recurring topic in our village given the obvious constraints of a limited inventory and competing needs. It has emerged even more front and center as a result of the two different projects under review at the Bronxville School — a FEMA flood mitigation plan and a new playing field initiative. From the vantage point of Village Hall, we try to assist with the parking needs of our village institutions, but it is a delicate balancing act as we respect and acknowledge the sometimes divergent needs of the many institutions that comprise the rich fabric of our village. As they should, all of our village entities focus on their own institutions and are advocates for their particular needs. In contrast, the role of municipal government is to evaluate the big picture and weigh the needs of all constituent groups. As an illustration, just a stone’s throw from my office in Village Hall is a public library, a nursery school, private grammar school, kindergarten to grade 12 public school, three churches, a post office and residential homes all with parking needs. Just zeroing in on the “Four Corners” at the intersection of Midland and Pondfield presents a case study in balancing competing needs. Village Hall provides on-site parking for all its staff but depends on open spaces in front for residents and visitors to transact necessary business. The public library has limited on-site staff parking and counts on available spaces for patrons to enjoy its many services. The Reformed Church has a very vibrant nursery school, many volunteer activities and is the home of an active senior citizens program. Our public school has grown greatly since my involvement in village government with additional class sections, student aides and a cafeteria staff. Parents also need places to park as they attend the many school events. With rare exception, no village institution has enough on-site parking for all its staffing needs, let alone guests and visitors. By making Palumbo Place one way, to the consternation of many, we added 23 public parking spaces, and the demolition of the old BAMS gas station added 40-plus spaces to the inventory. The village also has merchant spaces available in our Maltby lot near the paddle courts. Gramatan Avenue recently became a well-enforced short-term-only parking option due to new Mount Vernon regulations. Now that the economy has turned a corner, the trustees and I are investigating more macroparking solutions that would involve a significant capital expenditure. Before an institution comes to the village for parking assistance, we count on it to have exhausted all internal solutions. As examples:
- Has it maximized the space in its on-site lots with perhaps angled or tandem spaces? This is a good option if the staff leaves at roughly the same time.
- Have constituent groups been encouraged/incentivized to carpool, use the nearby Metro-North system or walk if living nearby?
The sometimes proffered solution of issuing special permits to one group for public street parking and not another is fraught with legal, constitutional and ethical challenges. Constituents have also suggested removing the median on Midland Avenue and/or allowing parking on both sides of that street. Research demonstrates that Midland Avenue is primarily a route to traverse from the Eastchester area to Yonkers and the parkways, and without the median as a calming device, the road could become a dangerous speedway. With the median, Midland Avenue is not wide enough to accommodate parking and the safe passage of emergency vehicles. We are confident that despite the many obstacles, when good minds get together, solutions can be found. To that end, staff from Village Hall and the Police Department will be meeting with school administrators and school board members on Dec. 5 to brainstorm about parking issues.
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