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Even Far Out Ideas May Carry Water

January 28, 2006

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
At its work session last Monday (1/23/06), the Village Board discussed the situation at the station parking lot in light of the many complaints following recent flooding incidents (see: “Flood Waters Swamp Cars Again in Croton Harmon Commuter Parking Lot”). After a presentation by Village Manager Herbek and a preliminary overview of the problem by Tony Conetta of Dvirka & Bartilucci, storm water management consultants, the Board asked Mr. Conetta for a proposal to address both short-term and long-term solutions.

Much of this work has already been done. Engineering studies included in the 2005 Croton Harmon Railroad Station study done by the Comprehensive Plan Committee indicate that the subsurface soil conditions in the flood area are very “soft”. Obviously this makes any long-term solution for this area difficult and expensive.

One alternative offered in the above report, which was coordinated with the information and proposals in the Cherbuliez and Munz plan for improvements that was scrapped by the Board majority last April (see; “Flooding Solution for Croton Harmon Train Station Parking Lot Mothballed by Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg”), was to stop permitting parking in this area and to replace the lost spaces with a parking structure at the north end of the lot. Of course the costs are significant and the decision to do this cannot be taken lightly.

In the meantime, however, short-term practical alternatives need to be implemented.

These would be practical plans that can be implemented very quickly. The Village staff is no doubt already at work on some ideas but I feel sure concerned residents can provide more. Several suggestions come to my mind already. I encourage you to contribute your ideas as well, either in this forum, letters or emails to the Village or at meetings.

It’s a good thing to have even ‘far out’ ideas put forward as there might be a glimmer of opportunity in them put together with some other plans. It’s likely that most ideas will involve some negatives ranging from inconvenience to parkers to significant loss of revenue for the village. As always, hard choices will have to be made. Here are a few starter ideas along with some of the obvious considerations for each of them:

  • At one extreme, the entire area could be closed to parking permanently (tremendous loss of revenue and huge problem for about 400 parkers)
  • Add more tools to the Village’s weather prediction arsenal and continue to close off parking as currently done when predictions call for it. Along with this there needs to be a plan for alternative parking locations. (Some inconvenience for parkers; it is still vulnerable to weather vagaries that are hard to predict)
  • Open up more parking at south end of the lot beyond the salt shed. (Reduces area for boat launch park; may not provide many alternate spaces.)
  • Sell reduced rate permits allowing parkers to park only in the flood prone area. Purchasers then become responsible themselves for watching weather and finding other parking spots on bad days (reduces revenue for Village but also headaches.)
  • A notification scheme to alert parkers of potential bad days in the lot. Perhaps posting a daily “parking forecast” on the Village’s website for parkers to check or an automated calling list to permit holders.

What else can you think of?

Ann Gallelli

On January 28, 2006 11:07 AM, Reality Check said:

Ann Gallelli make sense again. There are many alternatives to dealing with the parking lot flooding, some in the short term and some in the long. All will cost money and we, as a community, will have to decide if we want to spend it. I do know that this issue has been looked at by the prior administration and the Village already has lots of data to consider and alternatives to pursue.

So why do we still have this problem? Why was spending on the parking lot, some of which could have addressed the flooding if they wanted it to, abandoned by the Schmidt/Steinberg/Brennan administration? I have commented at length on the politicizing of the parking lot flooding issue by Messrs. Schmidt & Steinberg (see my comment under “Trustee Kane Should Stick to the Facts”) so I won’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say that, in my view, the current majority on the Village Board has neglected flooding at the parking lot for political reasons. Now they want to spend more money on another study - presumably so they can defer doing anything for long enough to consolidate their political power before the bills come in.

It is time for a reasoned consideration of the options followed by a plan of action. Ann Gallelli’s thoughtful presentation is a good starting place.


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