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Lake Placid parking rates change, hours may be extended

Lake Placid’s Flowbird parking meters, seen here on Wednesday afternoon, now all charge the same rate of $2 per hour. Previously, charges differed by lot and spot. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

LAKE PLACID — Metered parking rates in Lake Placid changed on Wednesday, equalizing all meters to the same rate of $2 per hour. Meter enforcement hours may soon change, too, as the village board contemplates extending metered parking until later in the evening.

The village board voted in March to standardize meter rates downtown, where rates could previously range from $1 to $2 per hour, depending on the parking spot or lot. As of Wednesday, meters up and down Main Street were charging the same rate of $2 per hour, with a time limit of four hours.

Village Trustee Jackie Kelly said in March that the village aims to lower the parking fees on the app to encourage more people to use it. The app sends reminders when the meter is about to run out and works more reliably than the meters. As of Wednesday, if people choose to pay in the Flowbird mobile app instead of at the meter, they will incur an additional service fee of 35 cents, bringing an hour of parking to a total of $2.35.

At its Monday meeting, the village board discussed extending metered parking hours in the village. Currently, enforcement hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The board is looking to extend these hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Village Trustee Marc Galvin said the extended hours are an attempt to turn over Main Street parking spots more quickly.

“A lot of restaurant workers will roll in for their dinner shift at 4, 4:30 (p.m.), park their car, maybe pay just a little bit and then be camped out there all night while the retail and other businesses that are still open, they don’t have any parking for their customers,” Galvin said. “So, having enforcement will help turn those spaces.”

“That’s the whole idea … to give people who come to Main Street a place to park so that the employees aren’t taking all the spaces,” Mayor Art Devlin added.

Main Street employees are eligible for annual parking permits that allow them to park at designated parking spots along Main Street all day without feeding the meter. The annual parking permit is only available to Main Street employees and residents and is valid for one year. It is administered by the Lake Placid Police Department.

The village board voted in March to increase annual parking permits to $200, citing inflation and other recent price increases. The permits had previously been $150 since 2016. The permits turn over on May 10 and must be renewed annually; the village offers prorated passes throughout the year, with prices adjusted accordingly.

This pass is different than the resident parking pass, which is free and was rolled out last year. It allows residents of Lake Placid and North Elba to park in metered spaces from 7 to 11 a.m. at no charge and is administered through the North Elba town clerk’s office.

Any changes to parking meter enforcement hours in the village need to be made via an amendment to the local parking law. This means the board must hold a public hearing regarding the changes before it takes a vote. The hearing is set for July 1 at 4:45 p.m., and the board plans to vote on the changes at its regular board meeting following the hearing.

As of Wednesday, the app already displays the proposed new metered parking hours: 8 a.m to 8 p.m. on all days except Sunday, when it’s 1 to 8 p.m. Devlin said on Wednesday that the app’s current information is inaccurate; parking is still only being enforced from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Village Treasurer Mindy Goddeau said Thursday that the enforcement hours displayed on the app were an attempt to save the village some money, as the village is charged every time it makes changes to Flowbird’s meter information. The village decided to change the rates and hours at the same time to avoid being charged twice, she said.

“We had four or five updates we needed done,” she said. “We paid for it all at once to save some money.”

If the meter hour changes are not passed by the village board on July 1, Goddeau said the village will pay to change the enforcement hours back on the app.

Goddeau said at the village board’s Monday meeting that parking enforcement officers had noticed the physical meters displaying incorrect enforcement times, too — though not the same hours the app displays.

“(Village parking enforcement) did a full audit of them on Sunday and another audit of them today,” she said. “They’re not all accurate in time. One says 1 to 10 (p.m.), one says noon to 6 (p.m.).”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that any metered parking changes in Lake Placid need to be made via an amendment to the local parking law, which requires a public hearing. Meter rates do not require an amendment or public hearing, while meter enforcement hours do. The Enterprise regrets the error.

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