A dangerous storm with heavy rains and high winds in excess of 45 miles per hour coupled with a high tide at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, January 18, 2006, caused severe flooding (view photo gallery) at the Croton Harmon train station parking lot. Additionally, portions of the road that provide access to many sections of the lot were closed off by MTA Police and the Village of Croton-on-Hudson Department of Public Works because of the flood waters.
Despite, a sign in front of parking section G, which states, “FLOOD PRONE AREA. PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK”, there is no near-term solution to abate flooding by the Village. Therefore, paid parking in a significant portion of the Croton Harmon commuter lot remains a buyer beware proposition hidden behind a thin disclaimer.
In fact, Sharon Stern, a concerned Cortlandt Manor resident and commuter (as seen in the following video segment), who has been using the parking lot for the last seventeen years appeared before the Village of Croton-on-Hudson Board of Trustees at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 to voice her own personal concerns and to describe the water damage her car recently sustained as a direct result of ongoing flooding (view photo gallery) in the parking lot.
Video transcript start:
Ms. Stern: “I actually came her primarily motivated by a flyer that was on my windshield at the Croton Harmon train station where I have parked for everyday for approximately the past 17 years. And that flyer indicated that there would be discussion tonight of the repeated flooding conditions that take place at the Croton Harmon train station. I see that its not on the agenda but I did come over here so I thought I’d speak.
I am not a resident of Croton. I am a resident of Cortlandt Manor. I’ve indicated that I have been parking at the train station for approximately 17 years and for most of that, paying substantial revenue to the Village of Croton Harmon. For some period of time, years ago, not all of the lot was owned by Croton Harmon. And I’m sure as all of you know, there are over 2,000 people who commute on a regular basis and who park their cars there. It is the largest train station system.
It also charges, at least to non-residents, the highest monthly fees. And, the concern is both by myself and many others that the repeated flooding situation has gotten to an unbearable point. The conditions have gotten worse over the course of the past year. There have been at least two or three occasions within the last six months where there has been a need to even close part of the lot.
And my car has been damaged. It is currently sitting the service station needing repair for two computers and to remove the water that has gotten into the automobile. While parking in what I consider to be a fairly safe portion of the lot.
I would implore all of you to really give consideration as to shoring up the area that bounds the swamp area in sections, I believe G and H of the parking lot. I think lessons can be learned by what happened down south in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina about the need to have forsight and prevention and not wait until havoc strikes. So, again I implore you to give serious consideration, perhaps even officially put it on as an agenda item. I’m sure there would be a lot of people who, both positively would have good suggestions and of course negatively would complain but, those are all the positives and negatives that go along with this forum. Thank you.”
Trustee James Steinberg: “Can I ask you a question? What was your name?”
Ms. Stern: “Sharon Stern. STERN.”
Trustee James Steinberg: “Ms. Stern, do you have a copy of this um, flyer that you were, that was on your car?”
Ms. Stern: “No, not on me. But I do have a copy.”
Trustee James Steinberg: “Was it produced by the Village? I mean, we’ve never discussed something like this so it seems quite peculiar.” (crosstalk)
Ms. Stern: “It doesn’t indicate that it was sponsored by the Village. My sense was that it was sponsored by somebody who didn’t enjoy having his or her car flooded and was looking for some vocal support for that.”
Trustee James Steinberg: “Mmm hmm.”
Ms. Stern: “So, it did seem, and I actually thought I would see a whole group of individuals but since I stopped by after work, I figured, group of individuals or not, I would get the point across.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Exactly.” (laughing)
Trustee Thomas Brennan: “Ms. Stern. I was actually contacted by a couple of residents about the problem down there and I mentioned it to the board and to the Village Manager and I believe we do have something gonna be scheduled for our next work session to talk about that problem and see if there is any type of resolution to move forward to come up with some answers to that problem.”
Ms. Stern: “Excellent.”
Trustee James Steinberg: “If I could add too. For purposes of future meetings, the Village has a very, um, informative website that produces the agenda too because I know its not right for any citizen or person that parks down there to get something on their car that says a certain something is going to be on the agenda and you travel here and its not. I mean that’s not fair for you or anyone else.” (crosstalk)
Ms. Stern: “I understand that and actually when I looked at the agenda, I realized it was not on there, but you do have the opportunity, and you provide the opportunity to address non-agenda items so.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “So, you’re perfectly welcome to come. We do appreciate your comments and we will look into that.”
Ms. Stern: “Thank you.”
Video transcript end.
Further, looking ahead to the Village election on March 21, 2006, the Croton GOP, which just released its 2006 Village election platform and endorsements for James Steinberg, who was appointed last year by Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt to fill his seat after losing his own bid for a Trustee seat, and newcomer Joe Gonzalez, make no mention, propose any changes or cite the need for repairs at the lot.
The Croton Harmon parking lot is a Village owned and operated enterprise that generates in excess of $1,000,000 of revenue per year to the overall operating budget. The lot is available to Village of Croton-on-Hudson residents at quarterly rate of $135.00 and to non-residents for a quarterly fee of $234.00. Daily parking is also available to the public at a fee of $5.00 per day including weekends and holidays.
For additional information or to report flood damage, contact the Village of Croton-on-Hudson by phone at 914-271-4781. The daily parking office, located at the lot is available during normal business hours at 914-271-6800.