GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – If you work, live or spend time in and around downtown Glens Falls, you may have noticed it was harder than usual to find parking this week. Parking spots were blocked off by traffic cones daily, from Monday to early Friday. You can park there again as of late Friday, and don’t worry – the spots are still free for at least two hours at a time.
Parking spots for about a block in every direction from Centennial Circle were blocked off this week so that 150 parking sensors could be placed beneath the streets where parking is busy. Contractors were hired to place them there by the city, in order to collect data for the development of a future parking plan aimed at helping visitors and residents find parking without a hassle.
“We’re looking at technology that people could use to make their way around the city without having to drive all over the place,” said Jeff Flag, Economic Development Director for the city. “As things get back to normal, especially with regards to events in the city, we want to get into some stricter enforcement of downtown parking.”
The city is looking at starting up use of an app that people can use to find open parking. The sensors currently placed along parking spots will help Flagg’s team to understand where to point people.
Here’s what the project doesn’t mean: Paid parking. The type of system the city is looking at could certainly be used to enforce paid parking, as it is in many larger municipalities, where visitors might scan a QR code on a kiosk with their smartphone in order to enter their car’s information and pay for the right amount of parking.
However, Flagg says that in Glens Falls, that isn’t the priority or the plan. At a time when events like the Special Olympics New York Fall Games and Adirondack Balloon Festival are making their way back to town, the city wants to give people as many places to park as possible – with a little more order. Currently, most downtown parking has a 2-hour limit on it during daytime hours during weekdays, and nobody likes to forget that their time is up.
“You don’t need the app for enforcement,” Flagg said. “For consumers, though, it helps, because it’s a good way to know when you’ve been parked for two hours.”
Glens Falls is currently working on a project to convert streetlights to energy-saving LED bulbs. The city received grant money to pursue that project, and had extra that was earmarked for other smart technology applications. A parking plan was the top of the list.
Meanwhile, the city is still changing shape in many ways. Over the summer, Flagg and other city officials presented an update on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project on South Street, including plans for a new farmer’s market and large apartment and community hub space.